And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make
(Beatles, “The End”)
It always amazes me how a song can end up reflecting life . . . for instance, The End by the Beatles. If you have never listened to the song, then you should . . . here is the link. The song reflects life . . . think about it. Don’t we all spend our lives hurling towards some preconceived goal . . . some goal we are told that will validate us . . . acknowledge us, only to discover in the end that it wasn’t any of that that really mattered . . . it was the love that we shared, the relationships that we had. Over the years, having officiated and attended a whole heck of a lot of funerals-- that is the pattern I have stumbled upon. Surprisingly, the composers of this song nailed it . . . “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
One of the exercises that teachers, instructors, professors, and retreat leaders eventually get around to doing is asking that the participants write their obituary. I have probably written my obituary a hundred times, and each time I have been a legend in my own mind. I have probably written even more obituaries for those whom I have celebrated their lives at the time of their deaths. Central to all of them, whether they have been my own or someone else’s is how will they be remembered . . . will they be remembered. I think that is true for all of us whether we want to admit it or not . . . will we be remembered, and if we are remembered, how will we be remembered? What will the end look like?
The practical side of me thinks, why should I care . . . I’ll be dead. The impractical side of me thinks . . . I wanna know!! Don’t we all?
In the end . . . I honestly do not know what people will say about me, but I hope it would be good . . . I would hope it would be filled with laughter . . . but, I do not know what they will say. I have not always been a saint, more often I have dwelt in the land of sinners (haven’t we all) . . . but, I have tried. I have tried in my own way to love the Lord completely . . . though I think God sometimes wonders. I have tried to love my neighbor as I loved myself . . . but, there have been a whole bunch of times I have not loved myself too well. I have tried . . . I have tried really, really hard . . . but, will it make a difference.
I have reached the start of the last third of my life . . . at least according to my children who think I will be gone sooner than later . . . at least according to the average age an American lives to be . . . and, I want to make sure that in the end the love I gave is greater than the love I ever received. There is a ways to go. It is up to me how people remember me.
And, so . . . I need to learn new habits. I can no longer use sign language while driving to express my displeasure with other drivers. I can no longer stomp on bugs no matter how disgusting those bugs might be. I can no longer use words that no one else understands to make myself look intelligent, while everyone around me thinks, “What a pompous ass.” I will need to start eating all of the strange, exotic dishes the wife puts on the table for meals. I need to quit rolling my eyes whenever someone says something that is asinine and idiotic. I should revel in my ignorance and be more blissful . . . as they say, ignorance is bliss and I am one of the most blissful people you will ever know. I should quit using dry humor since most people don’t get dry humor. I should quit seeing life as an “us” and “them” division . . . but, that will be hard when college football season rolls around . . . everyone knows that there is only one team in this great nation of ours . . . mine, which happens to be the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. And, on and on the list could go.
Maybe new habits are not the answer. Maybe what I need to do is to focus on what Jesus told me to do . . . love God completely, and to love my neighbors as I love myself. God rocks my world . . . that one shouldn’t be too difficult . . . we introverts already think that we have this market cornered. I imagine God just laughs at that one . . . but, I am trying. Loving my neighbor . . . as I love myself . . . hmmmm, that is the area I need to focus upon, I think. I think I could love myself a little better . . . in return, I will love others better. Looking at our world today, I do not think too many people love themselves real well . . . the world is a sucky place to live right now. Damn those Liverpool prophets who said, “The love you take is equal to the love you give.”
I’ve still got time . . .