Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Memento Mori

This morning I got a note from Kitchen Madonna, wondering if she'd missed the post in which I talk about my newfound zest for life. What would induce me to join a gym (my goal is 20 pounds by Christmas), shift gears professionally, and re-evaluate my priorities with such uncommon clarity for one who was always juggling 20 projects at any given moment.

I looked back and realized ... sure enough ... I'd completely forgotten to actually write about this personal epiphany. Go figure. So here goes...

There is nothing quite like the deaths of two friends -- both of whom were just my age, one of whom left behind a five-year-old son -- within a single month to make a person take stock. The early Christians had an expression: Memento Mori (remember death). This was not a morbid preoccupation with the Grim Reaper, but a mindset that helped the Christian to evaluate all of life with an eye on that which is of ultimate value: Family. Relationships. God. Heaven.

Twenty or forty or sixty years from now, what will people remember about me?
* The books will have been long out of print, the magazines reduced to landfill.

* Our possessions will have been sold off, divided up, or simply worn out.

* The hours of cleaning and cooking and washing and organizing (surely after decades of homemaking, this time will have added up to hours, minutes at a time) ... all slip by, unnoticed.

* But the people who knew me well -- my children and my husband, other family and close friends. The ones whose birthdays have been passing without a card, while I rush to correspond with this or that church group. They are the ones who will remember ...
They will remember me either as someone who cared enough to invest in them, or as someone who just went through the motions on her way to "more important" things.

So ... in honor of my friends, I choose to make better choices. Take care of myself. Take care of my children. Take care of the things that will matter -- 20 or 40 or 60 years from now.

Memento Mori.


Kitchen Madonna said...

Here here! Well said! And Amen.

I'll ponder this and ask myself the same questions.

Jenn said...

What an awesome reminder to focus on what's REALLY important. I need to do that myself. Thanks for sharing.

Kate Wicker said...

Beautiful and just what I needed to read...

God Bless,

MightyMom said...

I'm very sorry for your losses, and I cheer you on in your goal to reprioritize. It seems sometimes that we spend our time in opposition to what we actually consider important. Hooray for you getting it right!

Sarah Reinhard said...

Good call and well-stated, my friend. Just what I needed to read this morning. Now, after wishing you a Happy Birthday (very, very late) on that post, I'm going to get offline and give my CHILDREN some time so they remember me. :)