How a funeral made me a better person

I listen to this stupid radio show and one of the guys always says, "In light of eternity."  I love that statement and I've worked on using it.  If Rob and I are about to get in a fight I ask myself, "In light of eternity how important is this fight, is it going to matter in a week?"  I've started incorporating it into my life and it is helping. But the biggest change in my life came a few weeks ago when I went to a funeral.  

I am not a huge religious person.  I am just learning to believe in God and I currently refuse to "choose a religion."  Right now I'm hoping that God will love me no matter what.  I went to this funeral and this man, that my family is kind of close to began speaking about his father and he said something and in that moment my whole mind changed.  He said, 

"My dad lived his life like Jesus, he did things for people without wanting anything back.  He didn't do stuff for recognition, he didn't want a thank you, he didn't want recognition, he didn't want plaques, he just tried to live like Jesus would and help as many people as possible"

I can't tell you how much that resonated with me.  I'll be honest a lot of my family isn't that way.  They do something for someone, save it in their memory and bring it out later wanting something back.  I started thinking back in my own life and realizing I DID THAT TOO.  

There were two memories that stuck out.  One was sending something to a blogger buddy.  Something I knew her and her family would love.  Then, later wondering why she didn't post about it on her blog.  People in my life asked the same thing, why didn't she post it.  I wanted the recognition.  I wanted people to know that I SHANNON MATEO had sent her something.  I was pissed.  Looking at it now, I think, "how silly.  Silly, I know she loved it, that is all that mattered." Why on earth would I feel like I needed that recognition?  I feel bad even having those thoughts.

The second memory, is recently loaning a friend money to pay her rent.  For the longest time everyone asked me if she was going to pay me back.  In the back of my head I didn't expect payment.  I always hoped to be paid back but didn't "expect" it.  But a lot of people in my life couldn't believe I would just give someone money. I look at it now and after hearing that speech, after attending that funeral all I can think is, I kept a roof over their head, I helped a friend, that is all the repayment I need, seeing how thankful she was that day.  

It is strange how something so small can make a person reflect so much on my life.  All I can hope now is to pass the wisdom of that day down to my children.  I want to teach them to help others for the right reasons.  Teach them to never expect anything in return.  

I was so amazed that day.  Sitting in this church, mesmerized by the beautiful building, not because it was a religious building but just because it was beautiful.  It was celebrating a beautiful family, a family who lived their lives the way I want to live mine.  The other thing that stunned me was the funeral itself.  Every funeral I've been to was sad.  It was in a pathetic room with no love, no real memories, no real REFLECTION, but this funeral it was, every thing I would want for my own.  Everyone spoke with love.  People spoke of this man as a hero.  This wasn't a sad day it was a celebration of life.  I'm glad I witnessed that.  I am glad I know it is possible to have that.  I am glad knowing there is hope for my kids.  

I only hope I can continue to be strong enough to keep this up, to keep teaching my kids this way of life.  To trust that everything happens for a reason and that it will all come back to us somehow.  This man who died had cancer, he was given two extra years.  I believe his life choices left him with the reward of two extra years.  I can only hope that I can teach my children to be stand up men.  Men that in the end are remembered as heroes.  Remembered with no bad memories.  I hope I can be remembered that way.  I hope I never forget the words I heard that day.  I hope I continue to trust in some kind of God, and I continue to learn to live as he would, to live as the BEST SHANNON I CAN BE!

At the very end of the funeral, Ricky the man speaking about his father (Jack) said, my dad lived his life following WWJD but now, for the grand kids, and the friends now, instead of What Would Jesus Do, it will stand for WHAT WOULD JACK DO???  I must tell you, that since then every day I have asked myself, "Shannon, What Would Jack Do?"

3 thoughts on “How a funeral made me a better person

  1. I just wanted to tell you that so many things you write about hit home for me. I’m pretty lazy so I tend to not comment. šŸ™‚ This one though, I have struggled with this for years. My mom’s side of the family is really crazy. My Grandmother and Aunt are gready for the recognition of doing something good. For doing a “favor” like they call it. They LOVE to remind EVERYONE what they did to help you, what you did in order to need that help and so on. Or if they buy you something, you can never live it down. A gift is never just a gift to either of them. It’s something they have to lord over you. If that makes sense. They will both talk about it for years. This has gone on for as long as I can remember, and I would always vow to never be like them. But I’ll tell you, it’s a constant struggle. To not be raised to do things because it’s good, but to be taught you do things for favors, it’s hard to overcome that. Just try your best, your boys will learn that from you. They will learn to treat people well, simply becuase it’s the good thing to do.


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