Have you ever wondered if your life has really mattered? Whether you’ve made a difference with your years?
The milestones in our lives often cause those questions to bubble to the surface. Perhaps it’s a birthday that ends in a zero, retirement from a long-held career, moving to a new city, or something even more devastating like a diagnosis of cancer or ALS. But down deep, all of us have moments of wondering about the impact of our lives.
If I were a Chatty Cathy doll (Can anyone relate?), and you were to pull my cord, you’d hear these messages repeated: “Eulogize the living.” “Tell the ones you love how you feel.” “Don’t wait.” “Affirm their special qualities.” “And please, do it in writing!”
Yes, I’ve preached these messages repeatedly. But I’ve recently realized the profound impact of affirmation from a fresh perspective. This time, it was showered on me. I was the recipient of the most amazing birthday gift: a book of letters from friends and loved ones telling me what I mean to them.
Wow. Talk about humbling.
Yes, I’ve encouraged others to do this. But to be the recipient of such a love offering showed me, firsthand, the beautiful impact that our words can make.
My 23-year old daughter, Anne, put this amazing book together. It’s bulging with letters and photographs from friends from across the years. And it is a priceless gift.
Does someone you love have a milestone approaching?
Getting ready to retire after many years of service?
Coming to the end of one “season?”
Are they reeling from a terminal diagnosis?
You couldn’t give them a more meaningful gift.
Yes, it takes some organizing and follow-up.
But the contents? Pure gold!
Not only will you shower the recipient with encouragement, you will prepare a keepsake for future generations.
At a recent retreat, a woman shared about having prepared a letter book for her late mother’s 80th birthday. Naturally, her mother was delighted. But, with a quivering voice and tears, the woman talked about how much those letters mean now that her mother is gone. They help to preserve the beautiful memory of her mother and provide inspiration for living and carrying on her mother’s legacy.
I hope you’ll be inspired to do this for someone you love. And I pray that you, too, will have the blessing of receiving a gift like this some day.
Simple…intentional…lasting…Words that matter forever.