Most of us really don't think much about our epitaph. It's something I have thought about for many years now. I know what I want my epitaph to read, but more importantly, I should ask myself, "What would Jesus put on my epitaph?" Would He say, "My daughter used up every gift I gave her", "She lived a life of purpose", "Laughter and grace filled her all the days of her life", or might it read, "I wish she would have lived for Me".
Whether we want to accept it or not, one day we will all leave this world. For we must remember, this is not our home. We will take our last breath and there for the world to see will be our epitaph. Our legacy. Words written in a poetry of life. As those pass by our gravestone, they will bend at the knee and brush their hand upon the words to remember. What is it we want them to remember?
If you know me well, you know that I am fond of cemeteries. Especially Jewish cemeteries. Each stone tells a story. It leaves behind just a glimpse of the life we lived. How do we express a life through just a few words chiseled or a painted scene upon a gravestone? I walk through with my head bent, reading each one, in wonder. I ponder the thought, "What kind of mother was she?" Sometimes the epitaph will read, "Father, grandfather, man of God." There are many gravestones that hold pictures engraving images left to describe the life lived. Just as in life, if we do not write our own words, someone else will write them for us.
We have but one life to live. How do you want to live it? It's our choice. Each step of the way is our deciding step of the next. We can either take the life given to us by the Lord and live it to the fullest or we can allow another to live it for us. Too many times we allow others to make our choices for us. We allow our past to determine our future. We grant judgement the ability to decide who we are. It is not for this world to live for us. It is for us to live it. We are to take each moment and live it as though it is our last.
We should speak as though our words are the last one will remember of us. We should walk as though it is the last sight one will have of us. We should live our life in honor of the One who gave His for us. Life is precious. We take our days for granted. We live with the idea that no one is watching, but I tell you, there is always someone watching. Even after our days are over, someone will pass by our gravestone and read our epitaph in pondered emotion.
When we see the dates 1938-2012, what is it we think? I wonder what their life was like. Did they create memories or have them created for them? Did they live in victory or defeat? Was a smile upon their face and joy in their heart? Did they live with passion and grace? Did laughter present it itself daily? Did they look beyond this world and reach for the Savior? It's not the dates that matter. It's not how long we are here that matters at all. It's the life lived within those years given. Every life makes an impact. That impact is our choice. If we think about it, every motion, every step, leaves behind an imprint of our life. There is more to wonder than where they were born and how the died. More importantly, it's how they chose to live.
Remember being in high school and reading the words, "I was here", printed on the bathroom stall? I still see those words written in many places. It's always where one will pass and read it. Much of the time, the name of the person isn't written, just the penned ink, waiting for another to read.
My son and I were speaking about tattoos this morning. He asked, "Mom, if you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?" I must tell you, I have always wanted a tattoo. But for me, a girl of change, it's not realistic. I'd be more apt to have a sticker, so that I could change it daily. I've always wanted Micah 6:8 tattooed upon my foot. That way, with each step I remember to do justly, to love mercy, walk humbly with my God. I too love the idea of having, Live The Words, tattooed on my wrist. For this is a reminder that my words written and spoken always honor God.
As a writer I think about words almost on a moment to moment basis. Everything I see is something for me to write about. I just wait for the Lord to spark my heart and ready my fingers. So, thinking of my epitaph is important to me also. It's my legacy. So, when I began this post I shared that I know what I want my epitaph to say. "Jesus Looked Good On Her", are the words I want upon my gravestone. An epitaph of life. A life lived, for the Savior who died for my life, to be lived in grace and beauty.
To have these words as a reminder of what I want my life to say, gives me that purpose to live it each day. It's a hope to strive for and a legacy to shine each day for as I take each and every step.
What is it you would have your epitaph to read? What is your life legacy to be? You just never know how much those words will touch another as they walk by on their way to living their daily life. Our words have an impact. Our life lived is our complete testimony. Our life has an impact. Live it, my friends. Live by His Words and may His Words be upon your heart today.
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"