Monday, January 7, 2013

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

Periodically we find ourselves touched in a major way by the example of someone else. These are people who radiate the joy that comes from living a Christ-like life. I recently attended the funeral of a woman who fits this description. One of my husband's cousins, this humble, bubbly lady was a wonderful example to all of us. It was said of her that she never said anything negative about anyone else, and I know this to be true. Louise had a way of edifying others in a quiet, unassuming fashion, typical of those who are true disciples of our beloved Savior.

A year ago, our family attended a funeral for someone else who lived a similar life. One of my great-aunts, Mary was another inspiring example. She loved serving others and was always making a fuss over her neighbors, family members, and total strangers. At her funeral, a story was shared about the time a new neighbor came by for a visit. In a typical fashion, my gentle aunt invited this man into her humble home to share a freshly baked loaf of bread and homemade jam. As she and my uncle sat visiting with this new neighbor, they eventually asked what it was he did for a living. This man had purchased a large ranch in the mountain valley where my aunt and uncle lived, and they had assumed he was a rancher like most in the area. Instead, their new neighbor revealed that he was an actor and had made several movies. My aunt kindly remarked that while she had never heard of any of those movies, she was certain he did a fine job and would succeed in his chosen vocation. Their new neighbor: Richard Gere.

As several stories were shared about my aunt's Christ-like tendencies, one of my sons commented that her example made him want to live a better life. Many of us came away from Louise's funeral feeling the same way.

Funerals for these type of people are often like graduation ceremonies. Though we miss them greatly, there is a feeling of joy that can be sensed through the Spirit. I experienced this sensation the first time during my maternal grandfather's funeral. My Grandpa Sibbett was one of my heroes. He was always doing things for other people, possessed a great sense of humor, and survived numerous adventures in life, including the death of his father when he was in the eight grade. At that time, he quit school to help support his family. A hard worker, my grandfather never lost his zest for life, maintaining a positive attitude regardless of the challenge. This would eventually include the death of one of his sons at the tender age of seven.

I remember going places with my grandfather when I was quite young. People would look at me and smile and ask if I was Glenn Sibbett's granddaughter. When I would nod accordingly, they would tell me what a great man he was--something that made me want to live up to his reputation. That feeling was magnified during his funeral. Though I was sorrowing over his passing, I couldn't ignore the strong feeling of joy that was present as well, an indication that he had truly graduated from this life in a pleasing manner to God.

The inspiring example of these loved ones gives us an indication of what is truly important in this mortal life. Fame and fortune do not matter. Fancy homes and cars mean nothing. When it's all said and done, it comes down to how we treat each other, and the type of service we render throughout our lives.

The lyrics to a well-known hymn have been going through my head this past week. They pretty much sum up what I'm trying to share in today's post:

Each life that touches ours for good reflects thine own great mercy Lord
Thou sendest blessings from above thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know
Than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways, strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim devotion to the Savior's name
Who bless our lives with peace and love, we praise thy goodness, Lord above.


Kerry Blair said...

Beautiful tributes, Cheri. I know this will be read and appreciated in heaven as well as on earth!

Jennie said...

Cheri, you are that kind of friend. You wrote beautiful tributes, but sometimes I think we wait too long to let dear friends like you know how much your example means to us.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Thank you, Kerry, and Jennie. =) You are both that kind of friend, too. Love you both.