I’ve never really given much thought to the type of things I want people to say at my funeral. I tend to focus more on how I’m living right now and hope that how I’m remembered falls in line because of it. That changed a bit this August when Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away.
In a statement by the family, they described her as "a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more."
I have to tell you, that phrase has stuck with me… to be described as a living prayer. Growing up Catholic, where tradition and posture are a part of worship, my mind went to imagining the actual appearance of a living prayer. I tried to imagine what that might look like in a tangible application, but I couldn’t. I’ve decided that kind of a life can’t be seen in a look or a stature.
What I’ve decided instead is that it would be found more in the reflection of others when they are touched by you. It would be seen in the joy that others would find contagious, in the compassion that others would feel in your words and deeds. It would be found in the empathetic nature of a stranger and in the fortitude seen in those who are determined to make a difference. The kind word for no reason, the intentional way of listening, the hand outstretched to give and to receive… the voice of encouragement, the touch of comfort, the openness to share in word and deed… all of these things must be what a living prayer looks like to others.
All we can really do in life is be open to what God needs from us, to be aware and present in our circumstances so we are available to step up when called. It’s a daily choice to make this a way of life… but I have to say that now, choosing how I want to be remembered is helping me choose my daily actions.
I want to be a living prayer.