I've wondered a lot about how one's life is measured, ultimately. What do these few fast decades on the planet mean? Why is such a visit part of the cosmic scheme? Like the old movie says, "What's it all about, Alfie?"
Some answers became clear this week as I helped celebrate my favorite uncle's life. Repeatedly I heard these words to describe his behavior while here: love, family, honor, integrity, laughter, example, courage, optimism, fidelity, curiosity, and commitment.
I learned that his life is measured, not just by the Purple Heart he was awarded for his service as a Marine in the Pacific during World War II; not just by the sixty year marriage to his beautiful lady; not just by the three fine human beings that are his children; not just by his two incredible grandchildren; not just by the educational foundation set up to honor him and his lady; not just by the professional successes he attained through difficult decades.
I learned that his life is measured, ultimately, by the values he lived, by the example he set, by the legacy of behavior he leaves behind. At his funeral, we were challenged to do a good deed in my uncle's honor in the coming weeks, as one way of honoring his stay on earth. That is a fine challenge, an easy one that will benefit many.
When his lady, my precious aunt, passed, I purchased a sterling bracelet with the well known prayer from St Francis of Assisi engraved on it. Wearing the bracelet, if I were inclined to respond to a stressful situation with haughtiness or impatience or disdain, I could simply touch the bracelet and be reminded that I could choose to respond as my aunt would have done: forgiving, patient, smiling, compassionate.
Now I am going to look for something to carry with me that will help me emulate my uncle, something that will help me carry on the legacy of his inspirational life. I am so blessed to have known this noble creature, my Uncle Marty.