I recalled that I had really learned from her – understood and embraced – the notions of extravagant hospitality and extravagant love. Surely the world can use more of each. The idea of extravagant hospitality has been something of a natural fit for me, although I have recognized this only in my later years. I am drawn to the folks on the edge – often these are elders (vis a vis my call to visitation) – but equally to those who are different, who have unusual struggles. It feels like a “call” for me to engage, to welcome, to relate and to listen as best I can. This “call” has already stirred a thought about my upcoming retirement time to volunteer with EMARC in my town – an organization helping people with developmental disabilities. The reason for this seeming field of attraction is I think, my unusual status as the child of a single parent. In the 1950s this was most unusual, and while I do not recall being ostracized in any way by my friends or classmates, as the eternal introvert, I was prone to self-examination and I knew I was different. I did stand on the outer edge of the arc of normal.
On the topic of extravagant love I have, in both my relationship with this friend I mentioned earlier and in work with my mentor, come to have a grasp on God’s love for each one of us. Knowing that in spite of whatever relationships we have or do not have with others around us, we are loved – and loved extravagantly, is a saving grace. Here again I think my own growing up experience has shaped me in such a way as to be open to accepting the notion of God’s boundless love because I had so few people in my life to love. It seems I have a lot to give away!
So, back to the starting question: How do I want to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as someone who paid attention to others, to what was going on in their life. Maybe I will be remembered for asking at some later date, about the conversation we’d had earlier – evidence that I had heard, and that I had cared enough to remember. It is my hope that some will recall my writing and photography and have found some instance of blessing in them. I’d like to be remembered with a smile, a joke I’d made or a return comment in a moment of difficulty that lifted the mood, if even for a moment. I would like to be remembered as having been generous – with my time, my talent, and my treasure.
Now I hope I can live out these images of remembrance. How about you? How do you want to be remembered?