Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Blue Tombstone

I’ve been feeling pretty blue lately, and when our Wednesday night church leader asked the following question, it really took me for a spin:

“What would your loved ones write on your tombstone if they could only could use one word?”


It was in a “5 Love Languages” class and the goal was to help identify what love language I used. If I could identify my kids/wife’s love language, I could use that and then maybe they’d write “He served” or “He listened” or “He cared”. It didn’t work. I Immediately went through the list of what would most likely end up etched in stone:

“He wasted”
I used to compose songs, record them, perform them, and communicate passionately to impact lives around me. I built a recording studio with the assumption I would be very active creating music. None of that has happened. I haven’t composed a song nor recorded my own music in years. What a waste.

“He wanted”
All the toys. The best. The shiniest. Oh sometimes I wander between guitars, keyboards, computers, gadgets, sound equipment, even a car or two depending on my mood, but I obsess about them, and get blue when reality takes the $$$ away I’ve saved for it.

“He stared”
How many times have my kids tried to interrupt me from staring at and caressing my iPhone? This addicting Internet toy improves the life of my loved ones how? But my how it fills the time between sleeps.

“He worked”
Big deal. So I made IBM some money. I've seen many co-workers come and go and within a month there’s no trace of them being there and in a couple years there’s no trace that their work ever existed. I also imagine my kids crying out “That’s not TRUE!”, then running up and sketching “…too much” in permanent marker. “There. Now it’s true”. Thanks.

“He didn't”
So many things I don’t take the time to do that really matter. But I don’t even know where to find the ‘what matters’ list. I guess I’ll just keep watching American Idol. At least I can check that off as something I did.

“He yelled”
At my kids, at my wife, at myself. Not all the time, just enough to keep the guilt flowing. I think I get control of my rage and then one of them will challenge me or interrupt me or make a could-be-cleaned-up-in-30-seconds mess that takes me to that place satan loves to meet me and have a double-shot-yell-for-nothing-and-leave-scars-on-the-heart-of-a-six-year-old latte. Mmmm. Yummy.

“He raised”
4 kids. Does that count? Even dogs have more offspring. Did I impact them? Sure, but did I do more damage than good? Was the investment worth it? Did I invest enough? Ask my youngest. My heart aches at how he tries to please me and I too quickly tell him to stop doing something that’s totally benign…like making mud soup outside. as Brian Regan confirmed, I care more about how my concrete driveway looks than the joy in my child’s heart.

“He loved”
Maybe, but not very well. I find people more irritating than worth while. I’m more of a stay-close-if-useful-to-me relational human than really interested in them.

“He believed”
Ya, but did I need 41 years to do something I started at 7? Especially when a successful believer would have a long wake of saved friends. Me? I just don’t get close enough to know if they need a savior, or frankly to care.

“He left”
The one sure thing I can count on. At some point I’ll have a real tombstone and leave someone behind. They’ll probably feel sad. Is that the one accomplishment I can count on? Awesome.

So, are you prepared if someone asks, “What would your loved ones write on your tombstone if they could only could use one word?”

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