Written On My Gravestone

When you die, what would you like the words on your gravestone to say? “Loving Father & Husband”? “Devoted Teacher”? Or would it be something more profound like “Honor” or “Faith”?

The first step in this exercise is to identify two or three words that you would like to have sum up your entire life (easier said than done, I know).  The second step is to evaluate whether or not your current lifestyle reflects these words.

At first glance, this exercise might not seem very relevant as you consider yourself “young” with many years left before you need to think about these things. The fact is, no one is immune to death, and no one can accurately predict when their last day will be. (Every time you get into a car you put your life at risk.) From this perspective, this topic is incredibly relevant…

Are you living a life that you would like to be remembered by?

I was 26 years old the first time I seriously and truthfully asked myself this question:

“Am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life? Is this what God created me for, or is there something more?”

At the time, I had a successful career with a six-figure salary. I regularly took extravagant vacations and had very few legitimate worries. I was happy, or at least everyone though I should be. But deep down, there was a growing discontent with this lifestyle. And it all came clear when I identified the words that would best describe my life if I were to have died that day:

“Above Average Semiconductor Salesman”

All of my titles, my certificates, my degree, all of my hard work and sacrifices, my relationships, my community service, my possessions – Everything fell below the top bullet of “Above Average Semiconductor Salesman”.  And that’s when I knew I had to change.

I, perhaps like you, wanted to be more than just my job.  I wanted to be more than just “above average”.  I wanted to be a part of something bigger!  Something that contributed to making the world a better place…  And so I change my entire life.  I quit my job, spent two years as a professional volunteer and international missionary, started my own company, married the most amazing woman, traveled around the world, devoted my life to God and His will, and became a teacher at a community college.

If I died today, my hope would be that the words “Passionate Family Man & Mentor” would grace my gravestone.  Now I know that I don’t perfectly embody these words, but my life’s actions do reflect them ever so dimly and my goal is make that reflection brighter and clearer each day.

If you died today, what would be written on your gravestone?

What do you wish would be written on your gravestone?  What can you change today to make this wish more realistic?  Drop me a note in the comments with your answers…  So I know you’re reading :)