What would you like to leave behind at the end of your life?
Last Saturday I attended the funeral of a friend who was a pediatric surgeon at a local hospital for many years. His children gave strong testimonies of his role as their parent as well as a respected family doctor– providing them with wonderful adventures via swinging ropes at the family farm, simple guidelines for living, vivid stories in letters from his travels as a volunteer physician – and courage in the face of Parkinson’s disease during the last four years of his life.
The rector had the advantage of knowing this parishioner for 30 years when their lives converged during holidays, at services in the town near the family farm and finally in the big city parish. In his sermon, he likened the man to a combination of Indiana Jones and Mother Teresa – one who enjoyed countless adventure and fun mixed with a deep sense of spiritual conviction that framed all the actions of a long and event filled life.
And what were other take-aways for those of us who heard these things? Michael had planned two surprises. He was an avid gardener. As we came in each of us received a seed packet to plant wherever we could. His children had told us of his love of ice cream which he judged appropriate to any place and any time. When we moved to the reception hall, the first thing we saw was a Häaagen-Dazs mobile cart with more than enough ice cream bars for everybody.