Lawrence has had far too many funerals in recent days. Some were celebrations of long lives well-lived while others mourned lives taken tragically too soon.
At a funeral, people see and hear a lot about the good a person did in life. Some of those events are intentional, but many are unexpected relationships or impacts, a reminder of how many stones we toss into the community pond in which we live and the waves that radiate from even a tiny splash. Funerals show the positive benefit of life. It is a sad, but blessed, moment to realize the power and uniqueness of each individual life.
You see all the lives touched and the impact made. You look around and see how special and wonderful this person was. It is at a funeral that you see the real impact of a person. People gather to support one another with stories about the departed. The best stories often are about little things, little things that mean so much in that small moment - how he or she shared a smile, a word of encouragement, a helping hand, advice from the heart, a shoulder to cry on or just the time to listen - the gift of themselves.
You can also look around the room at a funeral and realize that each and every one of us will be the focal point of a funeral service someday. What will yours be like? How will you be remembered? You will never see your full impact; those stories and moments will be shared by others after you are gone.
People, common people, caring people, can affect many lives. It doesn't take money or special talent. Start today. No one is beneath you, and no one is above you. If you see a person who needs a hand, offer it. Take time to listen to the needs of others. A smile goes so far. It is so easy to give, and it is one of those special pebbles whose radiating effects keeps going and giving long after the pebble is gone.