Does My Life Matter?

I sat in the last row.  There before me, before all of us was a large cross laying claim to the front center of the humble space.  The speakers came one at a time to stand behind the pulpit as we listened to their stories.  It was a light affair, if you could consider a funeral to be so, but the spoken words about a man who was cherished held weight.  He was honored and respected.  Heads nodded in agreement at the truths being shared, and somehow the occasion of a life gone quietly from the earth did not hurt in the most terrible way.  It was a celebration of life lived well.

Last night I had a dream.  The details have gone fuzzy now, but I still remember the emotions that stirred me awake.  He was gone.  My son's life taken from my own, and I would never hold the warmth of him again.  It was final.  Permanent.  I was left touching the ache of my helpless sorrow, my hands erasing tears that would never cease to fall.  I was broken to pieces and spilled out on the floor.   Even if I managed to put it all back together there would still be cracks that would never heal, evidence of my loss.

I think about life and how I choose to live mine.  I think about love and how much of it I give away.  And I think perhaps those two thoughts are more alike than they are different.

My sister and I shared a room for many years, and on the nights that we got along we were able to bounce a conversation back and forth.  It wasn't uncommon for us to discuss our own funerals, and who we thought might come to show their respects.  I always left those conversations with a sad sense of displeasure because even in my youth I realized that once life is gone, it's too late to receive good intentions.  It didn't matter who showed up because we wouldn't really be there anyway.  I would have preferred to send a survey to all of my friends and family asking them if they would miss me, because what I really wanted to know was, "Does my life matter?"

I look at my children as they sleep, chests rising rhythmically in the soft light angling in through the hallway.  I've memorized their faces, always changing but forever resembling the one I first looked into when they were born.  Not one of them fits into my arms anymore, and yet I am always holding them lovely in my mind.  I don't want them to ever be unsure when they ask themselves, "Does my life matter?"  When they come home from school weary from words that were unkind, I want my words to say, "You are important."  When they roll their eyes and slam the door to their room I want them to know that nothing changes.  When they mess up, give up, or are just miserable human beings to be around I want them to believe the truth that I will never stop loving them.

I only have one life, but this one life has the ability to share countless words.  I come in contact with many people every week.  They are close friends that I share intimate life with, acquaintances whose company I enjoy, coworkers I respect, complete strangers delighting me with their smiles as I chat through the window of a drive thru.  I hope that I might be brave enough, kind enough, selfless enough to use my words.  I pray that I might help them to answer the question, "Does my life matter?"  Because I believe in the deepest part of me that for each person my life touches, the answer will always be yes.

Ginger Mohr