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Visit a Stone Garden lately?

Updated on October 8, 2012

How do you make others feel?

Have you visited a cemetery lately? You might have if you were attending a funeral of a loved one, a distant relative, a friend of a friend, a friend. It might have been for some other reason, maybe to pick out a site for yourself and your loved one or to visit the grave of someone special. In any case, unless you really had to go, you probably have not been to a cemetery or crematorium in quite a while.

The next time you visit one or just drive into a cemetery, stop your vehicle, turn your vehicle off and step out and start walking around and read the headstones of the final resting place of many people, some being buried yesterday and others that have been dead and gone many years ago.

Many questions and thoughts pass through my mind when I do this and it has been years since I visited a graveyard. I always wonder who was this “Loving Husband & Father”? Where did he live? Where did he work? Was he really a loving person? What were his dreams? Did he reach them? How did he die? What did his friends think of him? Was he trustworthy? Did he believe in God? Did he have a favorite pet? What was his last thought?

My mind streams like this all the time and there are other thoughts that seem to sneak into that stream that are related to the subject matter but are subsets of emotional turmoil that go inside my head as I am brought to the reality of my own mortality. One of the thoughts that always sneak into this stream makes me ask the question:

“After I am gone from this earth who will remember me and what will that memory look like?”

We all have close family, friends, co-workers and the many new people we meet daily as we move through our lives. I can’t remember the exact quote but it goes something like this: “People will remember you for how you made them feel.” Examine the way you treat other people, I don’t care if they are family, friends, co-workers or people met living your daily life. Every time you communicate with another person ask yourself; “how will what I am saying make this person feel?” We go through our daily lives with hurtful things said to us in anger, frustration or by small people with so much insecurity that they are arrogant, condescending or so self-absorbed that they give no thought to others. They probably have no moral compass either. The point is we, as Christians, are taught to turn the other cheek and reach out to everyone. Do you realize that after a generation or 2, your children’s children (your grandchildren) will have very little if any knowledge of who you were? Think about that. How much do you know about your Great Grandparents? Who were they? Where did they live? What did they do for their community? What kind of people were they? Were they nice? Were they snobs? Were they givers or takers? Can you remember good times with them? I dare say that most of us may remember some of them but for the most part we know very little and give it very little thought on a daily basis. We are all facing a similar legacy. Most likely we won’t become celebrities or famous leaders of Industry, business or Countries. We probably will not leave behind a huge inheritance for our children to split. The only real thing we can leave is our “mark” of humanity on each person we meet and have contact with daily.

You know that person you encourage when they doubt themselves or that person you take the time to give advice or train, that person that you give a genuine compliment on how they look, how their hair looks, how much weight they seemed to have lost, how young they look, how exciting they are to be around and any number of positive, optimistic things you can say to some to help them feel good about themselves makes you a bright light in their life at that moment in time. I’ve talked with people years after I shared some advice on the entertainment business or certain philosophies that I used to direct my course in life, business ideas, or supportive comments, encouragement and motivation and discovered that I, little ‘ole me, had made a major impact on their life and credited me as the reason. Wow! That gets you wondering how many other people have grown because of that discussion many years ago that you probably don’t even remember. I’m sure you have had this happen to you too. Even if you have not experienced this, believe that you have it within your power to change your life and others with nothing more than a genuine commitment to being a shining light in other people’s lives, most of the time you will never know it.

Next time you’re at the cemetery examine your life and make sure you are that smile in the storm that makes the world a better place. That’s the legacy we can leave. It’s how we make others feel when we are around and when we

“Brighten other’s lives daily. Give words of encouragement and let them know how special they are. It will make a huge difference in their life & yours.”
-J.W. Owens


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