I was cleaning our house and found evidence from one of our most recent visitors. These tiny handprints were on the full length mirror in our bedroom. This little munchkin obvious had fun admiring herself in the big mirror, and from the evidence did it a lot during her visit. Seeing her handprint made me smile and think about what must have been going through her mind while seeing herself in this light. It also humbled me as it has been many months since she visited, and I have not cleaned since then…oops!
Both facts are about evidence…evidence left behind and evidence of a task undone. Both made me think about what we leave in life – the evidence we leave behind and the evidence of what we have left undone. When we leave this world there is always some form of ‘stuff’ we leave behind – photos, certificates, family heirlooms, bills, wills, insurance money, maybe even a business or legacy. Some people leave more stuff that others. Some people leave very valuable items from a financial perspective, and others leave behind only items of sentimental value. Some people leave a little bit of both. No one goes to the grave pulling a U-haul behind them; whatever we accumulate in this world does not follow us after death. We get so caught up in stuff that sometimes forget that none of it goes with us, we leave it all behind when we die. And those left behind are the ones who will REALLY decide what happens to it.
The other side of this conversation is about the things we have leave undone. Like me not cleaning this mirror for months, too many things take up our time and we never seem to have enough energy or time to do what we really want to do. We each have 24 hours is a day, that’s it. No more, no less…twenty-four. I talk with people every month who are overwhlemed by all their lives require…there is too much drama, too much work, too much conflict, too much to do and not enough hours in the day to go to bed with a sense of accomplishment. The stress of not getting things done all too often outweighs the value we think we bring during the day. And yet what haunts those who face death are not the to do items or the tasks of life, it is the words left unsaid and the kindness left undone. No one is going to remember me by how dirty my mirror was, they are going to remember how I made them feel.
All too often we get caught up in the to do items of life, stress out about them, when the evidence those tasks will leave behind is meaningless. No one on their death bed wishes they had attended one more boring meeting or sent one more useless email, or cleaned their house better, or checked Facebook one more time before meeting God. They regret the people and relationships they are leaving behind. As testimony to that, I am leaving these little fingerprints on my mirror to remind us of what is really important. The people we love and how we treat them is what really matters. THAT is the evidence I want to leave behind. And no, this is not just another way to rationalize not cleaning my house!