By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
Some dear friends passed away recently, which gave me pause to reflect on my own life, and wonder what would be said about me after I’m gone.
I think we all know people who live only for “self” — whose only pursuit in life is objects and activities that give them pleasure. I confess I spent the better part of my 20’s (if not all) pretty focused on trying to amass stuff. “He who dies with the most toys wins,” is a motto I’ve heard often. I can also say I often was left with a feeling of emptiness, a hole that wasn’t filled, after the initial glee of a new car or shiny bauble wore off. What to do then? Why, move on to thinking about the next item I might purchase or procure.
With my 30s and 40s came a series of events that I can only say felt like being knocked down repeatedly, over and over. You’d struggle to get back up, but before you were good and steady on your feet again, the next wave came and knocked you right back off your feet.
And I’m not complaining here. Not by a long shot.
I believe it was these events that taught me empathy and compassion. That sharpened my focus and ability to see pain, loneliness or fear in others.
I have been the recipient of that compassion on many occasions. And perhaps because of that, I prayerfully keep my eyes open for opportunities to do that for others.
I have a friend I dare not discuss politics with, since we differ greatly most of the time on that subject. But one of my favorite things about her is her ability to find creative, unique ways to show compassion and kindness to others, some even total strangers. The ways she comes up with to “pay it forward” bring her joy, and fill me with wonderment, but may meet a need or a want for someone who couldn’t have otherwise. I love that about her.
So what if you don’t drive a new car or carry a designer handbag? Have you looked around for someone who is in pain of some sort, physical or emotional, that you may be the hands and feet of Jesus to? Is there a friend who needs a hug, a co-worker who needs prayer, an acquaintance who could use a break?
It doesn’t matter one whit if your floors are shabby and your furniture second hand, fill your home with your loved ones and feed them a meal prepared with love. The warmth of your hug and a smile is what they’ll remember, not how much dust was on top of the TV. Tell those you love you love them, and often.
There is nothing wrong with having a big, nice home. There’s no shame in having a modest, humble home. I think God just expects us to be a good steward of whatever blessings He gives us, and take pride and good care of whatever that encompasses. And while we’re taking good care of the blessings God gave us, expend effort to be a blessing to others.
The best blessings have a pulse and feel love. Don’t overlook those.
I am so very grateful for my husband, my soulmate, my “sweet William” God sent me, for it was he who modeled this way of living for me better than anyone else in my life. I now wake up each day and during my quiet time, ask God to “help me be Jesus to someone today.”
My husband and I have each had times in this life where we had many more material things.
But right now, today, I feel more rich than at any time in my life. Blessed beyond measure.
What will be said about you at your funeral? “Boy, he sure had a lot of neat stuff?”
Or, “She showed me kindness at a time in my life when I really needed a friend ... ?”
Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Sound off” on this column? Email email@example.com.