Eulogies are such interesting things. Someone has just a few minutes to share the very essence of the person who has died. In these few minutes they share what was most important to the deceased and most evident about the person everyone is there to mourn.
What would someone say in your eulogy? What do you want to have said in your eulogy?
Think about these questions because they will deeply impact the way you live. I have often said, "You write your eulogy today." Someone else will physically pen your eulogy but they will write what you live.
Columnist David Brooks wrote a book called The Road to Character which is briefly summarized in his column "The Moral Bucket List". I've not read his book but one idea from his aforementioned column, that I originally heard in an interview, stuck with me.
"It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?
We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character."
You write your eulogy today. What does your say?
If you want yours to say, "She was always there for us", then be there for someone today. If you want yours to say, "He was faithful in everything," then be faithful in what you do today. If you want yours to say, "He was a loving father," then make the choice to be a loving father today. If you want yours to say, "Her faith was central," then make your faith central today. If you want yours to say, "He was an honest man," then chose honesty over ill-gotten gain today.
Character is not something we get on our deathbed. Character may be remembered on our last day, but it is built in our day-to-days.
"A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1
A good name is hard earned, but easily destroyed. Character is not built overnight, but often crumbles overnight. If you want a good name you've got to desire it every day and protect it with integrity.
Someday your eulogy will be read.
What will it say?
Write the eulogy you want today.