What Really Matters
I have worked as a church organist for the past 15 years or so. Over those years, I have played for many, many funerals (or “memorial services”). Most of them for older people I didn’t know well. Some for older people I did know well. And a few for younger people that I didn’t know. Those, of course, are the hardest.
A few years ago I played for the funeral of a young 20-something-year-old man who had just married and had a son with his wife. I played for the couple’s wedding and witnessed the baptism in our church. He had been in school to be a nurse, but was working as a window washer to pay the bills. One day at work he fell from 2 stories directly on his head, right outside a hospital (ironically), but died shortly after.
This past week I played for the funeral of a 39-year-old mom of 2 who died of melanoma. Her kids were ages 15 and 3. Her name was Christina.
One thing you learn from funerals is just how much each of us is loved and that we all touch many other people’s lives, even people we don’t know or don’t know well.
One of the people who spoke about Christina at the funeral was another young woman named Jess who worked as her nurse at the hospital. She had just met the family 3 months ago, but said she’s become so close to them that she now ended phone calls with Christina’s mom with the words “I love you.”
Jess shared some words that touched us all and even made me cry, even though I had never met Christina. She said she speaks to Christina in her prayers and made some promises to her the other night and wanted to share them with everyone. They were from her perspective as a mom, like many of us. I’m sharing them here so others can also be touched by Christina’s life and remember the little things that really matter in life:
I promise to slow down and take more deep breaths.
I promise to be more patient with my children, hug them longer, and watch them breathe while they sleep more often.
I promise to fight less and forgive more.
To lecture less and teach more.
To fear less and believe more.
I promise I will be angry less and understand more.
To sigh less and smile more.
Count to 3 less and count to 10 more.
Do sit ups less and swing at the park more.
I promise I will try to swear less and sing more.
To count my calories less and count my blessings more.
I promise that I will never stop praying for your children.
I promise I will always believe in miracles even at times when miracles seem impossible.
I promise that I will always talk to you, always remember you, and think of you often.
Christina, I promise that I am a different person for knowing you and I always will be.