See­ing the best

The Tatura Guardian - - News - — Brian Spencer, Min­is­ter, Tatura Unit­ing Church

Last week be­gan and ended with a fu­neral.

On the Mon­day we said good­bye to a 93-year-old woman who had squeezed the le­mon dry with a long and happy life.

On Fri­day we more tear­fully farewelled a 56-year-old woman who died un­ex­pect­edly.

The com­mon thread in both fu­ner­als was the eu­lo­gies.

They were heart­felt, sin­cere, hon­est and of­ten funny ac­counts re­flect­ing the love, ad­mi­ra­tion, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and grat­i­tude the fam­ily and friends held for the per­son.

Did they gloss over the frail­ties and weak­nesses?

It’s some­times said that we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but it doesn’t re­ally take a rule to stop us do­ing so.

Nor is it be­cause some mys­te­ri­ous nostal­gia fil­ter falls into place caus­ing the de­ceased to be re­mem­bered as be­ing bet­ter than they were.

In re­al­ity I think death has a way of giv­ing us a new per­spec­tive on what was im­por­tant, what was a per­son’s es­sen­tial char­ac­ter and those things which were ex­tra­ne­ous or the re­sult of dam­age and bro­ken­ness.

We live in a world where the things that con­sti­tute ‘‘news’’ are al­most al­ways the bad things.

It’s not just the ‘‘no news is good news’’ it’s ‘‘good news is not news’’.

It’s the lies, the dis­hon­ourable, the un­just, the shock­ing, the cor­rupt, the thief, the shoddy that make the news.

We fill our lives with a diet of bad news and won­der why we have a per­cep­tion that ev­ery­thing is go­ing down hill.

The apos­tle Paul en­cour­aged his read­ers to con­cen­trate on the pos­i­tive.

‘‘. . . what­ever is true, what­ever is honourable, what­ever is just, what­ever is pure, what­ever is pleas­ing, what­ever is com­mend­able, if there is any ex­cel­lence and if there is any­thing wor­thy of praise, think about these things.’’ ( Philip­pian 4:8)

When we think about the good and the de­cent, we cul­ti­vate a sense of grat­i­tude and things be­gin to change in our brain.

Grat­i­tude is what makes the glass half full.

When I men­tioned this at a church meet­ing dur­ing the week, one of the peo­ple said it was a pity we did not get to hear our own eu­logy.

It might help us to un­der­stand how peo­ple see us and en­cour­age us to be bet­ter peo­ple.

Amer­i­can busi­ness man­age­ment and self-de­vel­op­ment guru Stephen Covey in his best-sell­ing book 7 Habits of Highly Ef­fec­tive Peo­ple en­cour­aged peo­ple to write a ‘‘liv­ing eu­logy’’ for them­selves as a self-de­vel­op­ment ex­er­cise.

It was part of in­still­ing Habit 2: Be­gin with the end in mind.

Writ­ing a liv­ing eu­logy was meant to help one fo­cus on the pos­i­tive qual­i­ties and ac­tions they want to be re­mem­bered for.

To make the ex­pe­ri­ence more vivid or real, peo­ple are asked to imag­ine them­selves at their own fu­neral lis­ten­ing to the speeches.

Ask­ing our­selves what would peo­ple say?

What would be the dom­i­nant themes?

Did we make the world a bet­ter place?

Did we use our gifts to help oth­ers?

Did we face our chal­lenges with in­tegrity and courage?

The task of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on, chal­lenge and change the neg­a­tive as­pects of our char­ac­ters and lives.

It can clar­ify and func­tion as a valu­able road map, help­ing us con­sciously choose the paths lead­ing to, sup­port­ing and re­in­forc­ing, the best of our­selves.

As we head into Christ­mas, look for the best in the peo­ple you share it with.

Yes, we all have short­com­ings and are bro­ken in many ways, but in­side each of us is a child who longs to be hugged.

We are the wor­ried who fear for the fu­ture, we are the lost who long to be found.

Christ­mas cel­e­brates that Je­sus is God him­self, who comes to us and bids us peace.

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.