What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone? Start planning–and doing–now.
Posted in , Jan 19, 2016
A few days ago I attended a memorial service for an old friend. As is usually the case, many of his family and friends spoke movingly of his life and legacy. As they did, I found myself praying...that some of the qualities others extolled in him (family, acceptance, grace, kindness, etc.) would be shown in me and said of me at my funeral, too.
And that got me thinking...and praying. In fact, I decided to make a regular habit of praying my obituary. After all, I long ago planned my funeral service (so my wife or children wouldn’t have to do it when the time comes); why not also write and pray my own obituary? It is still in process, but here is the obituary I’m currently praying for God to fulfill in my life:
Bob Hostetler died yesterday, just one day before his life insurance policy was due to expire, and one day after he gave away the last volume from his library of thousands of books he bestowed on people he thought would appreciate and enjoy them.
He is survived by his wife, the lovely Robin (the most youthful and beautiful widow in history and therefore sure to be contacted soon by every man who hears of Bob’s passing), his daughter and son-in-law (Aubrey and Kevin McCane), his son and daughter-in-law (Aaron and Nina Hostetler), and his five grandchildren, Avery, Calleigh, Ryder, Mia and Miles. His two brothers, Don and Larry, and their families also survive him, displaying signs of advancing age Bob will never know.
Bob’s greatest loves were for his God, his wife, and his family. He never declined an invitation to spend time with any of them. He never balked at any sacrifice for them or service to them. He taught them to love God, work hard, spend less than they earned, give generously, laugh often, be grateful, avoid waste, cultivate order and never stop learning.
His grandchildren will always remember the stories he read to them, the games they played together, the hugs they shared and the unwavering acceptance, grace, encouragement and support he gave them. As a friend, he was unfailingly humble, patient, kind and loyal.
He was a man of prayer, who began and ended most days in God’s presence. He was known also as a man of the Word, who read, studied and taught the Bible with memorable insight and sensitivity. He was also a man of words, whose blog posts, articles and books changed and improved many people’s lives.
He loved juicy steaks, fried potatoes, Krispy Kremes, chocolate chip cookies and watermelon, but learned to achieve and maintain a svelte appearance until his last hours, when he ate all those things without reserve or regret.
He loved the music of James Taylor, who on his most recent concert in Cincinnati invited Bob to sing backup. He was also a lifetime Cincinnati Reds fan and was thrilled to be asked to ride with the recent World Series champs in their parade through Cincinnati.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Salvation Army (from which Bob learned much and in whose ranks he served) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, whose research contributed to the complete healing of his grandchildren, Calleigh and Ryder, some years ago.
It may seem strange to write your own obituary, let alone to pray through it. But it’s never too soon or too late to pray for the things you want God to do in and through your life, things for which you want to be remembered. So why not give it a try?