I hope to die with a thousand stories woven within my skin. There will be tales of adventures in foreign lands, of amazing people that I have met and befriended along my journey, of moments that taught me, lifted me and pulled me closer to who I was meant to become. My face will be well worn but all of the smile lines will indicate a myriad of moments where laughter lit my face up and a hearty burst of air exhaled from my chest into a world where I temporarily existed. My hands may look old but hopefully the river of veins running throughout them will tell of the people they’ve hugged, the meals they’ve cooked for those I have loved or handed something to someone in need.
The vacant body that they will see before them will have only been the vessel. A vessel that had opportunities beyond what she thought at 20 when she thought the world would end. For in this body she traveled around an incredible landscape, saw sights that ancient queens never comprehended, heard music that made her spirit soar, created music to share with others, flew above a Costa Rican rainforest like an eagle, hiked the Inca trail in the Andes into Macchu Picchu with her family, walked in the great cities of the ancient world, climbed mountains, swam in oceans, stood beneath waterfalls, whitewater rafted in Idaho, devoured lobster on the shores of a Maine island, felt the waves of the ocean caress her feet, overcame fears, met countless souls close to home and far away, learned to sail, gained skills in cooking from an Italian, an American mother and grandmother, entertained at dinner parties and birthday parties, rode horseback through the ephemeral forests of New Zealand, did mission work in Jamaica, traversed the British Isles, seeing the graves of Shakespeare and more, met and connected with those in poverty, opened her heart to love those different than her and those less fortunate and extended hands of friendship to those the world over.
I will hope that I learned to give and value real love. To have learned that love is a choice and not just a feeling. I hope that I will have loved when it was difficult, and I hope I will be willing to love enough to desire to give up. Love is an emptying of self and pride of which it takes a lifetime to learn and a lifetime to put into practice. And the person that I became will not be focused on how pretty or fit or well-dressed I was. I will have become someone who lives and abides in the comfort that my validation does not come from others around me. I will be focused on the fact that none of these temporal things matters to the God I serve and that those who focus on the true things of life will have always been present in my life. I will have learned that the people who are meant to be near us and surround us will gravitate toward us continually. Should we have desired affection or attention from others that we did not receive, perhaps we were never meant to be the recipient of that.
I hope the look on my face in my coffin resembles a smile instead of a frown and that I did more of the first in life than the latter. A soul at peace should have nothing but a smile on her face and a song within her heart when it’s her time to go on. I hope that when people think of me they in turn will smile. I hope they each have vivid memories of places I shared with them, sunsets we sat beneath, trains that passed us while we played our instruments, conversations we shared that involved depths not comprehended by the naked eye as well as songs I shared and left around the American landscape as a piece of my legacy. I hope people come to a closer view of my Maker when they come in contact with me. May I not be merely focused on myself as a musician, a career woman, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a thinker, an explorer or a songwriter. But may I know that all facets make up a daughter of God walking and breathing and trying to walk on a good path homeward. As they lay me back into the dust from which I came, my stories will turn back into organic matter that become the setting for the next generation of adventurers and dreamers. For they will carry on what we have started. And I will hope I have done my part to leave it in good hands and to have bettered the world while I inhabited it.
When I die and begin to travel toward the light of the sun, perhaps the shackles around my feet will unclasp and release me from the bonds of an earth to which I shall never return. And as my spirit soars ever higher up and through the clouds and into the stratosphere, I will begin to hear music and familiar voices. And when I arrive at heaven’s front door and I softly knock, He will open it with a warm and welcoming smile and say, “We’ve been waiting for you- come in.” I will leave my jar of troubles outside and enter in where the most beautiful song I have ever heard is wafting toward me and slowly washes over me. And forever I will be in eternal joy.
Go forth and do good as you create a lasting legacy 🙂