On Wednesday, I’m having surgery. In the big scheme of things, it’s minor. A tonsillectomy. (Luckily, a coblation tonsillectomy which should hurt a little less than the traditional deal.) And though I’ve been promised that “it’s gonna hurt like hang”, I’m hoping for a good outcome. Excruciating pain for a few days will be much, much better than this bi-monthly recurring dull & frustrating throat and ear pain to which I am accustomed.
But I have to admit that while I am looking forward to next week when I can eat what I want and swallow without crying, I am not looking forward to the surgery or recovery. I’ve had enough surgical procedures to know that I don’t take well to anesthesia. I also know that although I can be a really big wuss when I stub my toe, when it comes to the major pain I take it like a big girl. I can be tough. I will be tough.
But right now?
Right now I’m scared.
And I can’t help but wonder about the what ifs?
What if something happens and I can’t sing anymore…or, God forbid, speak!
That would be devastating.
What if that 1% of fatal complications is me?
What if, at 30 years and some odd days, I’m through? My jig is up?
I know it’s unlikely, and I know I should just push it out of my mind.
But I can’t.
And so I find myself sitting here thinking and typing instead of packing for the hospital trip.
And I wonder…what if I died?
Morbid, I know…but hang with me a minute.
I’m not worried about my afterlife. I am a Christian and I do believe in heaven.
And I believe that should I die, I’d go there.
(Although I must admit that the image of mansions and streets of gold don’t really…um…fit the bill of my idea of heaven.)
But what I do worry about is what I’d leave behind.
Obviously I’d hate to leave Marshall and the children.
For selfish reasons, I’d like to be around to see the children grow up,
and to be old and gray with Marshall, holding hands on the front porch while watching the sun set.
But even that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m going back to that damn purpose problem.
Is my purpose fulfilled?
How can I even know if I’ve fulfilled my purpose if I don’t even know what my purpose is?
Have I been a good enough mother, wife, friend, person?
Would I be leaving behind a legacy that I’d be proud of?
(Would it bother me in heaven that I ended that sentence with “of” instead of saying “legacy of which I’d be proud”?
‘Cause it sure ’nuff bothers me on earth…but it also sounds weird.)
Would I be remembered for making a positive impression on people?
Would I be remembered for always doing my best to help and encourage others?
Would I be remembered as a nice person?
I don’t believe that nicer people get a better seat in heaven.
And I’m a big believer in faith, not works.
And although it’s ultimately not about the stuff I did or didn’t do, I still wanted to be remembered fondly.
I want to be remembered as a good person, a fair person, a loving person.
I want to be one of those people that others remember with a smile.
Remember the time Bridget did so and so?
Remember how she’d make us laugh?
I want to be remembered for speaking kindly to and of others.
I want to be remembered for being gentle and fair.
I want to be remembered for being loving and witty.
And if I want to be remembered for that kind of stuff, I need to be sure that I’m doing that stuff now.
And so here, while I sit and struggle with my silly purpose dilemma,
I realize that my purpose isn’t really a one-purpose kind of thing.
It’s a call to be authentic and genuine and loving.
My purpose is to do good and to love others.
And my purpose above all purposes is to teach my children how to do these things.
And that? If I can do that…well I will have succeeded in fulfilling my purpose.
And I will be remembered.