What Will People Say? – 7/27/16 – Kerry

13840529_10206968572032071_927766050_oWhat Will People Say? – Kerry E.B. Black

July 27th, 2016

Dear Reader-

At my uncle’s memorial service, I saw grief hollow my cousins’ eyes. I recalled these people as the beautiful children with whom I spent countless hours playing every game we could think up. All mourning begins as an internal agony, and although I couldn’t intrude on theirs, I wanted to ease their pain. Before taking my seat, I stumbled over condolences and embraces while feeling deficient.

During the service, the pastor asked, “When your time comes, what will people say about you?”

I considered. I know what I’d like those who knew me to say, but did I measure up to my hopes?

I spend time worrying about finances. I haven’t enough put away to provide for my children’s futures. This leads to anxiety, which I’m ashamed to say influences my mood. Instead of remaining joyful, I sometimes wallow, unable to lift myself from malaise. Worn with worry, I don’t play with my children as much as they deserve. As I look into their eager faces, I grow angry with myself for my lack of appreciation for our many blessings. I realize we have each other such a short time together, and meaningful interactions build relationships. I’d like to be remembered for such construction.

I aspire to a Zen-like calm, but in practice, I do not master my emotions. Sometimes passions overwhelm me, while other times, I barricade myself within my heart, a self-defense learned from years of emotional turmoil. None of these behaviors please me, and I certainly don’t want to be remembered for them.

I hope my dear ones know the depths of my love, yet I wonder if I convey this. Do they perceive my actions as rooted in love, or will they remember me as a selfish person consumed with my own pursuits?

The pastor’s speech forced introspection. I contemplated what others might deem petty or unpleasant in my character. My serious nature sometimes puts people off, but despite my occasional stoicism, I wish to embrace most everyone I meet. I recognize the universality of experiences. Like a child, I long for the acceptance of others while secretly expecting they will find me deficient.

I am a family person, private and sensitive with self-esteem issues and a desire for loquaciousness. I quiver at change and pray for salvation. I am not strong like the super heroes I admire. I am not dynamic and flashy. I grow testy when I feel unappreciated. I grouse and spout off when I’m annoyed.

However, I am a hopeful philanthropist and romantic dreamer who must shake the dirt from the roots of the ugly here-and-now to better shoulder life’s burdens. Service isn’t about recognition or admiration. It is about helping my fellow man, to uplift and enrich lives. Although I fall short, I seek to be an instrument of peace and love. If I were to die tomorrow, my philanthropic “someday plans” would die without enactment. Intentions are great, but without action, they are useless.

As the notes of a sad song drifted over our grieving congregation, I felt mortality drape its mantle over us all. I knew if I didn’t start acting upon the important aspects of life, I would deserve no kind words when my time came. More importantly, when I meet my maker, I would like to think I’ve done all I could in His service. There could be no more worthy life lived.


To read more of Kerry’s letters, click here.

To read more of our author’s letters, click here.

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3 Responses to What Will People Say? – 7/27/16 – Kerry

  1. Pamela Aune says:

    Well said, Kerry. The fact that you realize your shortcomings means that you are doing just fine in raising your children and giving them the love that they need from you. Funerals always bring out these doubts about our own lives and how we impact others. Your mixed feelings of love and feeling inadequate both at the same time are perfectly normal.

    P. S. Good to have you back online again, Kerry!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Allusionary Assembly and commented:
    This is last week’s One Year of Letters entry.


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