You drive down the road while making a mental list of all the food you want to serve at the Memorial Day picnic. You remember the patio set needs cleaned and the grill needs brought out from storage after a very long hiatus due to continual cold weather. It's finally appearing not only that spring has sprung, but summer is officially here. I realize the date of summer it is not, yet Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer.
Last Sunday while getting ready to go to church, a thought came to mind: I never should forget what has been done for me. By that, I am referring to the grace of God and the kindness of people. I also was reminding myself that life is "not about me." It is about God and people. It was orphan Sunday at church as our church is actively involved in finding homes for orphans among many other missions. The preacher mentioned a statement about foster parents. He said, "I know it is very hard to love a child in your home knowing they are only temporary, and it is heart-breaking to give them back, but people, it's not about you." His theme continued, "it's not about you and it's not about me." Ouch! I'm one of those who have long wanted to bring foster children into my home, but have thought, what a heartbreak to give them back.
The next day I was in the Dollar General store in a nearby beach town. At the checkout I met a beautiful 70-year-old African American woman, and we instantly "clicked." We walked out together and "had church." She began telling me that she, through the grace of God, beat cancer and was back to teaching school. As we talked, she said, "you know, life is not about me, it's about God and other people." I began to laugh and told her that was the theme of my upcoming article. And, that had been the theme of my pastor's sermon and my earlier devotion.
"That's confirmation now," she laughed a joyous laugh. She was an angel to me that day as it was just what I needed to confirm not only the article theme, but my life theme.
It sounds so simple, does it not? "It's not about me." Life is not about me. I've heard my generation called the "me generation." How sad. You show me a person who lives a life that is all about them, and I will show you a miserable person. We weren't put on this earth to find ways to make ourselves happy, content and to be indulgent. This is the reason we see movie star after rock star overdosing and dying a young life. That void we all possess is not meant to be filled with ways to make us happy, feel good and fill with stuff and things.
Happiness is a byproduct of investing our lives in the lives of other people while walking with God. When I was 23 and widowed, I found a scripture that read, "happy is he who has the God of Jacob as his help." It was then I realized, my heart may be broken, but deep down I am happy. It was an aha moment that I haven't forgotten, even 28 years later. Life is simply not about me. One coping technique that I have used since the death and homegoing of my daughter, Kristin, is investing my life in others. Sure, I grieve daily, but I don't grieve as someone who has no hope. I grieve because I miss her, and I grieve daily. However, there is more life for me, and that life involves purpose. It is fleeting, and it's not about me. Most have heard the little poem, "Only one life will soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last."
As we enjoy this first weekend of unofficial summer, let's decorate the resting places of our loved ones who have gone before, and then let's picnic and enjoy those we still have on this earth while eating a bit too much, but let's never forget: "It's not about me."
- Kimberly Morgan, MA is a wife, mom, and Grief counselor. You may contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter @kimmorgan63.