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What Will Be the Message of Your Life?

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"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

A prominent celebrity and businessman made his transition. One of his business acquaintances was on his way to the cemetery for the burial service. As he was driving up, he noticed that there was another service taking place at the same time.

A long line of cars headed toward the second service. There were probably 10 times as many people going there. The businessman said to himself, “The man at the service that I am attending was an important man in the community and very well known. But the person at this other service must have been extraordinarily important for so many people to be attending.”

So the businessman stopped a young man who was going toward the other service and said, “The person they are honoring with this burial service must have done some important things in the community for so many people to show up here.”

The young man hesitated before responding. “I guess she was important,” he told the businessman. “Her name was Mrs. Maggie. She was a loving and caring person. For 50 years, she was the crossing guard for the children at the local elementary school. So all the children, their parents and grandparents who Mrs. Maggie served all those years have come to pay their respects and appreciate the important role she played in their lives.”

Mrs. Maggie may have had a simple life, but it was a life of purpose and it left an indelible imprint to all those who crossed her path.

Gandhi was once asked to offer a message to the world. He responded with the now famous line, “My life is my message.” His life reflected his lifelong commitment to nonviolence and the liberation of the people in India. The reporter who’d asked the question thought Gandhi would wax poetic about his religious or life philosophy. But Gandhi knew that how he showed up in the world was his real message and the one people would remember most.

When I was 12 years old, I was part of a local Boy Scout troop. I remember I was at the year-end awards gathering and the Scoutmaster addressed our troop one scout at a time. I recall how he spoke about all the wonderful qualities each of us had and the accomplishments we all made throughout the year. Some of the things he affirmed may have seemed small in the scheme of things. In retrospect, they were not small at all.

The Scout leader made a big deal about those of us who showed up on time whenever there was a meeting. He mentioned to one member that he had been a great team player when he worked on a project we were all part of. He made all of us feel a little better about ourselves, simply by how he showed up for us. His simple words stayed with me and I’m sure with my fellow Boy Scouts our entire lives.

Who we are in our daily lives speaks volumes. It is the true message we send to others and the world. So we take in Gandhi’s words and realize that our life is our message. How we show up is our message. And we can ask ourselves each and every day, “What will be the message of my life today?” We know that message can make a difference in someone’s life and in our world.

Peace and Blessings,


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