Does my life matter?

I sat in the last row.  There before me, before all of us was a large cross laying claim to the front center of the humble space.  The speakers came, one at a time, to stand behind the pulpit as we listened to their stories.  It was a light affair, if you could consider a funeral to be so, but the spoken words about a man who was cherished held weight.  He was honored and respected.  Heads nodded in agreement at the truths being shared, and somehow the occasion of a life gone quietly from the earth did not hurt in the most terrible way.  It was a celebration of life lived well.

Last night I had a dream.  The details have gone fuzzy now, but I still remember the emotions that stirred me awake.  He was gone.  My son's life taken from my own, and I would never hold the warmth of him again.  It was final.  Permanent.  I was left touching the ache of my helpless sorrow, my hands erasing tears that would never cease to fall.  I was broken to pieces and spilled out on the floor.   Even if I managed to put it all back together there would still be cracks that would never heal, evidence of my loss.

I think about life and how I choose to live mine.  I think about love and how much of it I give away.  And I think perhaps those two thoughts are more alike than they are different.

My sister and I shared a room for many years, and on the nights that we got along we were able to bounce a conversation back and forth.  It wasn't uncommon for us to discuss our own funerals, and who we thought might come to show their respects.  I always left those conversations with a sad sense of displeasure because even in my youth I realized that once life is gone, it's too late to receive good intentions.  It didn't matter who showed up because we wouldn't really be there anyway.  I would have preferred to send a survey to all of my friends and family asking them if they would miss me, because what I really wanted to know was, "Does my life matter?"

I look at my children as they sleep, chests rising rhythmically in the soft light angling in through the hallway.  I've memorized their faces, always changing but forever resembling the one I first looked into when they were born.  Not one of them fits into my arms anymore, and yet I am always holding them lovely in my mind.  I don't want them to ever be unsure when they ask themselves, "Does my life matter?"  When they come home from school weary from words that were unkind, I want my words to say, "You are important."  When they roll their eyes and slam the door to their room I want them to know that nothing changes.  When they mess up, give up, or are just miserable human beings to be around I want them to believe the truth that I will never stop loving them.

I only have one life, but this one life has the ability to share countless words.  I come in contact with many people every week.  They are close friends that I share intimate life with, acquaintances whose company I enjoy, coworkers I respect, complete strangers delighting me with their smiles as I chat through the window of a drive thru.  I hope that I might be brave enough, kind enough, selfless enough to use my words.  I pray that I might help them to answer the question, "Does my life matter?"  Because I believe in the deepest part of me that for each person my life touches, the answer will always be yes.


  1. So touching and insightful as always!

  2. One of my favorite quotes is from Chariots of Fire. Whether Eric Liddell said this in real life, I'm not sure:
    "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
    This applies to me because I truly feel God's pleasure when I practice the craft of creative writing. To put the thoughts and ideas He has given us onto paper surely delights our Creator. Then it's up to Him to use that however He wishes. And that makes me happy.

    1. I agree with all of that, and it makes me happy too!


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