Our blog posts in October will focus on perspective, especially those glimpses of insight that guide us toward healthier relationships.
By Lavern Nissley
Executive Director of Encompass
Since November 2021 three of our four parents have passed, and I've had a major influence upon developing what the funeral/life celebration service will look like. The most recent life celebration was that of Ronda's Mom, Cora Miller, who passed peacefully September 26, 5:20 pm, right before an Encompass board meeting I was attending.
Two bits of perspective came to me during the planning and actual life celebration service. Join me in this brief reflection and see if anything resonates with your own experience.
Perspective #1: I wonder what my own funeral/life celebration will be like?
What will the vibe be like in the room? What will people laugh at or be inspired with related to the life I've lived? What memories will my own children and grandchildren emphasize?
Before the Celebration of Life for Cora Miller that started at 11 am September 30, the extended family of her children, inlaws, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (about 80 of us) met at 10 am. For 30 minutes we expressed heartfelt memories and gratitude. It was therapeutic and inspiring to see themes of service and hospitality emerging consistently. She was known for her baking and gardening, yes, but the deeper virtues were her service and hospitality.
I am choosing to live the rest of my life in pursuit of healthy relationships - my own, but also helping others to be as healthy as possible. People matter. Hopefully, that is a memory that those who attend my funeral/life celebration will have: "In his presence you mattered."
Perspective #2: I wonder what kind of legacy I'll leave behind?
What choices and behaviors will my own children and grandchildren adopt, if any, as a result of the ones I've demonstrated throughout my life?
The majority of people we serve at Encompass DON'T want a relationship like their parents had or toxic behavior patterns they observed growing up. Rather, they want to pass along relationally healthy habits and values.
I am choosing to live the rest of my life practicing kindness to my own wife, Ronda, while letting that kindness ripple out to others. The 30-Day Kindness Challenge made popular by Shaunti Feldhahn opened my eyes to a few patterns of negativity in my life I wasn't even aware of. The brief video below maps this out and provides the structure to make a huge difference in relationships.
Take a few minutes to think about your own funeral/life celebration. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to pass on? Let us know if we can help you sort this out!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.