How to Find Purpose in Life
Oh may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead, who live again
In minds (and hearts) made better by their presence? – Marian Evans Cross
One day I received a phone call to play bagpipes at a funeral in Dublin city, Ireland near to where I live. The family asked if I could be there for 5 p.m.
With the traffic at that hour I just made it, and began to pipe the hearse through the streets of Dublin up to the church. It was rush hour. I piped along the streets full of traffic. Some cars had to change lanes to clear the way and let us through. I wondered what everyone thought as they sat in the rush hour traffic jams. Were they reflecting on their own life, or was it just another inconvenience on their journey home? Well, every day brings us closer to the home from which we came, and for the deceased lady I appropriately played the tune – “Going Home”.
There was a huge crowd at the funeral. The lady must have been a really well known character in the area. I piped the coffin into the church, and her rather large family followed closely behind. Within a few minutes the church was packed to capacity, many people having to stand in the aisles. I decided to stay and listen to what would be said about this popular lady.
As the priest maneuvered the microphone into which to speak, people were still coming into the already packed church.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” he began. “Mary as we all know was very well known. Here we are with all Mary’s eight children, her sixty-three grandchildren, her ninety-six great-grandchildren, her four great-great-grandchildren and her two great-great-great-grandchildren!” The priest paused for a moment. “Now, that’s some legacy!” he said.
Totally fantastic, I thought. It is interesting that at the end of our lives the things that are truly important are mentioned at funerals. The priest didn’t talk about her property portfolio, or how much money she had saved during her life, or that she drove the latest BMW sports car. Albeit that these things may be important for us to operate in the world we have created, I have never heard them mentioned at the many funerals I’ve performed at!
At many funerals I have heard the priest talk about how the deceased served their family and their community – organizing events, writing books, being a great wife, a great husband, or a great mother or father, a great brother or sister, or a great friend. I have heard about their talents, their humor, their passions, the fact that they were there for people to help them through life’s challenges. In essence it has been about what that person has given to people and to life.
An Invitation to Decide your Life Purpose and Legacy
Albeit something most of us don’t want to think about, imagine it is your funeral.
What would you like said about you by the people who knew you? What would you like your legacy to