Thursday, April 08, 2010

Lives Well Lived

In two days I have attended two memorials--both for men my age who loved the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. Both, too, were remembered as loving their neighbors as themselves. The eulogies delivered for Shane and Sweeney were the type that left friends and family nodding their head in approval and appreciation of the good stewardship these men displayed with the days God gave them.

Today was an incredibly beautiful celebration of Sweeney's life. There were tears, of course. Mostly, though there were stories, laughter, and multiple lessons from the life Sweeney lived on this Earth.

One of the lessons I will carry with me from all of the various accounts shared is the incredible power of paying attention and showing up. Sweeney's life was characterized by life changing friendships. His 'flow chart' of lives that had been touched was dynamic. Everyone agreed, it was not because he had the remotest desire to be a headline maker or a world changer. Instead, he just loved on the people that crossed his path. In Young Life circles we refer to this as 'earning the right to be heard.' Today I heard a young man say that accepting Jesus' love for him was easy because Mike Sweeney had already lived it out in a way that made it exceedingly tangible and easier to comprehend.

My friend Cabell, Sweeney's widow, is a rock star. At the conclusion of the service she stood and delivered a powerful, moving account of her husband's love for her and the profound way God had used it to symbolize in some small way how He loved her. She did so with humor, grace, honesty and beauty. Theirs was a precious marriage. It left me wanting to be a much more humble wife.

I am challenged in a beautiful way to wake up tomorrow and live a life more fully committed to love--not in big Earth-shattering ways, but in seemingly small ways of showing up, serving and displaying authentic, life-changing love for the people God puts in my life.

In this day and age where most of the headline makers are people of scandal, it was refreshing to be reminded how much this world longs for salt and light. These lives were noteworthy because of their ability to reflect God's love in extraordinary ways--through humble, 'normal' lives. Thank you, God, for men who authentically live for you. Thank you for the reminder of the power of relationships and the great fruit that comes from simply listening and showing up.


storey said...

thanks for this! was wondering all day how all was going... do have any idea if it was recorded? love you!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

"Live a good life because in the end it's not the years in a life, but the life in the years."
Abraham Lincoln

dee said...

May we ALL be challenged to live a life more fully committed to love. Thank you for sharing.

Mom of Eleven said...

I agree J, I am forever changed by these two lives!

Traci said...

Amen. I'm in the middle of dealing with some very ungodly people, and it's difficult. It's always nice to be reminded that there are still lots of good guys out there. So sorry for your loss.

Jenilee said...

I am new to your blog and enjoying your posts. this was such a great reminder. it is so hard that some of these things are learned as we remember those whose who have gone on before us. so sorry for what you are going through as your family mourns these friends.