If you go through any random obituary page anywhere in the world you’ll see, there in black and white, the resounding theme of how we all want to be remembered.
It’s in each and every end-of-life story. Devoted husband, father, sister, daughter. Survived by their loving children Joe, Bobby, and Sam. Proceeded in death by their parents and sister Jennifer.
But an obituary isn't written in the last few months of life.
So if we were able to view a retrospective timelapse shot of our lives at the end, would family be the resounding theme? We may not know how much time we have here, and life can't be lived in reverse, so how can we be certain we'll reach the end where we want to be?
Family gives meaning to this life. It’s the fabric that makes us who we are.
But what makes a family?
Time spent on one another…given to another…sacrificed for other makes a family.
Time is the fundamental requirement of any relationship - God, children, spouse, or friends. It's the great equalizer of our generation because we each get to decide what we’ll do with the same 24 hours each day. But between our 87-item to-do lists… and our children’s extracurricular schedule… and work… and God forbid a social life, how to we know what to do when and with whom?
Family requires us to waste time on each other. How do you know someone’s heart if you won’t say you matter by wasting uninterrupted time on them? How do you find the real and the true if you’re always surrounded by distraction? Wasting time on someone means being present to them outside of the craziness and busyness our our lives. It means stopping the noise and the interruptions and saying yes to someone and no to absolutely everything else in that moment.
This I know for sure, how you spend your days is how you will spend your life. There is no other way. We all receive exactly one life, with an exact amount of days and those days are numbered. How you spend those numbered days is how you will have spent your one life. You cannot say my kids are my priority and go weeks without seeing them. You cannot say my family means the world to me and come home late from work every night.
The secret to family is this….SHOW UP. Really, it is that simple. When you’re in doubt, when you don’t know what to do, when you feel completely and totally confused as to what comes next. Show up for someone other than yourself. Be present in the mundane. Sit through the excruciatingly long minutes wasting time with someone you love.
This I can promise you, when you reflect on your life on that last day here, those will not be the moments you regret.