At my aunt Maxine’s funeral one my favorite hymns, Here I Am Lord was played along with How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace. Combined with Scripture readings focusing on Fruits of the Spirit, we did our best to convey the woman Maxine was and the kind of life she lived.
“I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart” seemed to be the words that Maxine lived by even though she never left her hometown. My brother Steve, who lives nearby watched over her the last year and a half of her life and was with her at the end. He and I had several conversations about Maxine and her choices and what she taught us.
Maxine lived simply. She was a frugal soul, having grown up on a farm during the Great Depression. My father used to joke that Maxine had the first nickel she ever made. She accumulated wealth, but didn’t quite seem to believe that she had. She never wanted to go anywhere. Steve believed she’d seen enough of the world outside the small town where she lived her whole life and had realized long ago that there was nothing better for her out there.
She worked, attended church, got involved in her community and took care of her friends and family. Based on things Maxine wrote, she believed that was her purpose in life.
Some may say it was a small life. Our society has a way of making us think we have to make our mark on the world in some big way. We hunger after fame and fortune but in the end those things are worthless. What will count are the lives we touched, the example we set.
Maxine’s answer to “What brings happiness?”
“Peace of mind. Love of friends and family.”
When asked, “What is the meaning of life?” Maxine replied, “To me life means being happy with a good outlook, seeing the best in people, being friendly to everyone, helping those you can, keeping close to God and living the life he intended for me.”
Those individuals who have what they want, the fame, the fortune, the followers, the careers, the influence, are some of the most unhappy, self-destructive, discontented people on the planet. Perhaps that’s because they weren’t meant to have any of what they spent their lives acquiring.
I will always believe Maxine had it right. This, it seems to me, is the key to contentment: Living the life God intended for you.
#contentment #love #life