Monday, 12 November 2007
Sunshine and Funerals...
Today was a beautiful day. The sort of spring day, that lifts out of early morning mist and warms into a golden glow. The sort of day that makes one want to celebrate life. And so, it seems fitting I guess, that on such a day we attended the funeral of a family friend to commemorate his life.
My brother spent summers with his son and my parents became good friends with his parents, building their friendship over golf and many years of shared meals and laughter. In truth, I didn't know Keith that well. However, whilst I knew little of his history, I do know this. Whenever I saw him he met me with a smile. I never heard him speak ill of another person. His laughter was genuine. He adored his wife and loved his son. He was, as the celebrant said, a gentle man and a gentleman.
He had not attended church for many years and was clear in his wishes that the memorial was to be held at the local golf club. For an avid golfer such as himself, perhaps it was a more fitting place of worship. As the ceremony continued inside, outside a willie wagtail collected twigs and parrots landed on nearby pillars. The flag waved at half mast and golfers wandered up to the greens, putting balls into the hole before moving on to the next tee. Life outside moved on.
Near the end of the service, they quoted the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson which inspired this post...
WHAT IS SUCCESS?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
It is a beautiful quote and a timely reminder of values and practices that ensure one's life is worthy of celebration.