(A Tribute to Significant Women)
Gaining a Heart of Wisdom
(The following is an entry I made in my personal journal on February 3, 2015.)
I’ve walked around with a heavy heart the past week.
Eight days ago, my friend, Darla, suffered a massive stroke. Her husband called 9-1-1 immediately, but in spite of rapid medical treatment, Darla died in the hospital three days later. That’s not supposed to happen!
Yesterday, a huge crowd gathered for her memorial service. Tears flowed. Chuckles erupted as family and friends communicated stories about Darla’s vibrant, joy-filled, and generous life. Darla married her childhood next-door neighbor and lifelong love when she was only 17 years old, and he was 19. Prior to yesterday morning’s service, her beloved hubby gave each family member and close friend a long-stemmed rose. Darla, he explained simply, believed in giving flowers to the living.
Darla was 15 days younger than I.
My friend’s passing has caused me to pause and ponder more carefully the significance of my own life journey. I’ve been personalizing the prayer Moses prayed eons ago, “Teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
I knew Darla well enough to imagine she would have ‘poo-pooed’ all the attention given her yesterday. She was so much more about “giving” than “receiving.” I imagine Darla’s view of herself was that God had given her much, and in turn, she wanted to give back. It’s tempting to ascribe undue accolades to people when they pass, but truly, I never detected a hint of irritation, criticism, entitlement, or resentment in Darla’s words or deeds.
My friend seemed to have a firm grasp on grace. She modeled the life of one who has gained a “heart of wisdom.”
When speaking of those whose life has been snatched away from us by death, the words Rest in Peace (R.I.P) are often spoken or inscribed on headstones. I can’t visualize Darla “resting” anywhere—not even in her Heavenly home. Rather, I imagine her scurrying about, hugging a myriad of loved ones and friends who’d entered Heaven before she did. I envision Darla grasping the hands of the Jesus she had loved and served so wholeheartedly, gazing into her Savior’s kind eyes, smiling that smile that seldom left her face, saying, “Oh, Jesus, you are so much more than I ever thought you’d be, and Heaven is so much better than I ever dreamed it could be!”
Darla’s sojourn illustrates the way I desire to live out whatever days remain in my earthly journey:
- Living life with open hands and generous heart.
- Regarding every person as someone worthwhile–someone created in God’s own image.
- Extending love to not only my own family, but to sons, daughters and grandchildren of the heart.
- Giving generously of my time, resources and prayers to all whose lives intersect with mine.
- Leaving a legacy that inspires those remaining to live well and love much!
So until we meet again, Darla, thank you…and enjoy every moment of your eternity!
Listening on YOUR Journey…
- Think of a person whose life you’ve admired. What characteristics did he/she model?
- In what ways have you adjusted the way you live as a result of this individual’s influence?
- What obstacles prevent you from “gaining a heart of wisdom?”