Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Wild and Precious Life

"What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
Anita Roddick

A friend of mine recently told me about being scolded by someone for not doing what this other person thought she should be doing.  She said she was asked what she thought people were going to say about her when she died.
Now, I know this person, and that mostly behind the scenes, she IS doing good things.  And it got me thinking about what will people say about me once I die?  What is really important?  Being a member of the "right" church?  Going to the "right" school?  Having the "right" job?  Living in the "right" neighborhood?  Is that what I want to be remembered for?

Before Thomas Jefferson died, he wrote his own obituary.  What do you think he put foremost?  That he was president of the United States?  No, he wanted to reflect what he thought he had done for the people, not how the people had honored him.  He didn't even mention being president.  Here are the words he wrote himself:

"Here was buried Thomas Jefferson,
author of the Declaration of Independence,
of the statute of Virginia, for religious freedom,
and father of the University of Virginia"

I thought about these words to my friend a lot after she left.  And the next morning, there in my Bible reading, were these words from Job 29:

11 “All who heard me praised me.  All who saw me spoke well of me.
 12 For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help.
 13 I helped those without hope, and they blessed me.  And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy.
 14 Everything I did was honest.  Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban.
 15 I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame.
 16 I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help.
 17 I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims from their teeth.
 18 “I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life.[a]
 19 For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew.
 20 New honors are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.’

I read that, and I felt God had shown me the answer.  I thought of this passage in Micah 6:8:

"O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,  and to walk humbly with your God."

Another reason I was thinking about this is because I have been told several times lately that I am old and need to slow down.  Okay, yes, I am in the later half of my 50's.  I even qualify for some senior citizens benefits, although I've been thinking I'm more middle age than old.  I even actually told one child who was chiding me "When you look at me, I look old.  But I'm looking out of the same eyes I looked out of when I was twenty..."

It's true that I am creakier.  That I'm not so strong anymore.  That I move a bit slower.  That I forget a bit more often.

But there is still a lot left of my one wild and precious life.  I'm not ready for that rocking chair yet, except maybe in the late afternoon when I AM feeling my age and I want to crochet a bit.

And it's very fulfilling to try and live up to those passages in Job.

When I die, I want my obituary to say that I spent myself on my family.  I spent myself by adding to my family even when I was eligible for those senior citizens discounts.

Earlier this week, we went to my daughter Rachael's house, and we watched old home movies.  In those movies was the younger version of the girl we are getting re licensed to adopt.  She had just come to my daughters home as a foster child a very short time before.  While my healthy, well cared for grandchildren bounced off the walls around her on a birthday morning, she sat to the side, watching, and looking very shell shocked.  My heart went out to her, and I remembered why I wanted to adopt her back when she was eight years old.
Last night, I dreamed about her.  In my dream, she was the 14 year old girl that she is now, but her face was still had that shell shocked look from the videos we watched.

What will I do with my one wild and precious life?  What SHOULD I do with my one wild and precious life?  Rock it away like grandma Moses?  Or, as Rich Mullins once said, be worn out doing what God would have us do?

I'll be willing to take in the shell shocked young girl.  And I'll have fun taking care of the ones in my home. 
And we will make this home that we have to stay in most of the time, fun to be home in.
We will have the pretty picnics in the yard that my pretty Mary Susannah puts together:

We will enjoy the birthday birds that are now sitting on three eggs!

We will play with the new puppies our big old dog just had:

And we will enjoy the three new bunnies that we just got today off freecycle.  Bunnies I got after big son Gage told me he had a nightmare about me getting MORE animals.  Bunnies I got after getting very lost out in the middle of Itasca, Texas' long winding roads on the east side of I-35.  Bunnies I got even though son Tommy had a tummy ache, and cried when I said he had to stay home until I gave in and said "oh, go get in the car!" (and yes, I am well seasoned enough to know better than that...) and son Gage chased me out the door saying "Don't take him mom! He'll throw up in the car and I have to drive it later!" but I took him anyway, declaring I was the mom, and sure enough, he threw up in the trash can I took with us just in case, causing me to have to stop in the middle of one of those long winding roads to throw out the plastic bag, while a big scary looking dog began to run up the street towards us (who says old lady's can't move fast??)...

And that is what I will do with my one wild and precious life.  Live it to the fullest, and not accept old age until I just have too.  It's what I want people to accept about me.  I don't want to be scolded for not doing what other people think I should be doing, like my friend was, unless they can show me in the Bible where I am doing wrong, or where I am hurting someone else.
What do I want on my tombstone?  That I did well with my one wild and precious life, and that I had fun doing it!


  1. Ilove your blog, I ran across it from another blog I read. I was born and raised in Ellis County. But since I have been married 46 yrs I live in Denton Co. I am 63 yr Christian lover of Christ and follower. Most blogs I read or from other states, it's refreshing to read about local people and their families. I have a busy life but long for a simple and need for less lifestyle. After I retire in a couple of years from my job with Lewisville ISD that is what I want to persue. Keep writing and I will pray for your family,

  2. I am getting so many wonderful ideas from your blog! I only have 3 children, but my dream is to have a big family.


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