Mohamed Ali was the Greatest. That was the headline story just a few weeks ago. He “shook up the world. And the world was better for it” said US President Obama in tribute to the legend. He was not great at boxing alone but was also known to have been a champion of civil rights in the USA. From the stories I heard on the BBC and the many articles done on him it is clear that he was unapologetic about the issues he strongly believed in. As I reflected on these stories I asked myself what will my “END” look like? What/who will they say Wendy was? What will the world say about you when you die? Have you ever mulled over that? One of the strangest training assignments I have ever done was to write a snippet of my eulogy. I was taking a course by PassionProfit and our facilitator gave us that as a first exercise. Some of us thought it was “unafrican” (this is a whole subject on its own) or akin to inviting death. But as I went through the exercise I saw the logic of it. When you start by envisioning the end it helps to put the present into perspective and from there you can create a plan and be intentional about how to get to the end.
So back to my eulogy. In the tradition of funerals here in Kenya the eulogy is read out by a member of the family and always starts out something like this “Wendy was born in 1902 at Nairobi Hospital to Mr and Mrs Gaya as the 7th and last born child. She went to primary school at Mashimoni Primary before moving on to Umoini Secondary School. In the years prior to joining university she volunteered with a youth organization. Wendy then went on to pursue her undergraduate degree in Management at such and such a university, going on to achieve a PhD (a girl can dream). Over the next 30 years she worked with a horde of organizations (or maybe just one). She leaves behind her husband, Mr Hubby and was a loving mother to 3 children.” This part is usually a simple narration of your major life events. In my opinion the least significant part of it.
If you listened to the speeches made during the requiem service of our former First Lady Lucy Kibaki nearly three months ago then you can vividly recall how her children and each of her grandchildren stepped up to briefly state what she meant to them. Person after another stepped up to sing her praises. She was a fearless defender of her family and held strong family values that some of us may remembering witnessing in the public domain. She was committed to fighting for the rights of the girl-child and tackling HIV and AIDS in Kenya. Unbeknownst to many she had personally supported several of her relatives and needy girls through school. A woman who spoke her mind. It reminded me of the eulogy I had written of myself.
When I die I would like my family to remember me as having made them my priority. That I was always available for them, quick to listen and embracing them in love. To be remembered as holding onto God’s word and being the light and salt of the earth, flavoring every environment I was planted in. I’d like people to remember me for being full of joy, my speech seasoned with grace, compassionate and an encourager who spurred them to greater heights. Those are just some of things I would want to be remembered for. I strive to keep that alive in my mind so that each day counts towards making my life count. What will your eulogy read?