Write Your Own Obituary

There is a Garth Brooks’ song that talks about what it means to truly live.

The chorus goes like this:

There’s two dates in time That they’ll carve On your stone
And everyone knows What they mean
What’s more important is The time that is known
In that little dash There in between

What’s on your little dash there in between?

What will people say about you when you’re gone?

What do you hope people will say about you when you’re gone?

“For the wonderful thing about saints is that they were human. They lost their tempers, got angry, scolded God, were egotistical or testy or impatient in their turns, made mistakes and regretted them. Still they went on doggedly blundering toward heaven.”

-Phyllis McGinlyey

We take comfort in knowing: those who came before us were sinners like us.

And – just as we will one day be – they are in heaven with the Lord now.

Not because they earned or deserved it, but because they believed.

So, who are your saints?

I’m not talking about the Roman Catholic Saints, with their statues and miracles and whatever else –

I mean who are your saints?

Who are the people whom God placed in your life –

Who loved you, taught you, inspired you…

And who are now with God?

She wasn’t perfect, was she?

He had his faults, didn’t he?

And yet they meant so much to you because they were there – in your life, somehow, some way – pushing, pulling, nurturing, mentoring, caring…

They filled in that dash in a way that was incredibly significant for you.

How would you write their obituary? Their epitaph? A tribute to what they meant to you?


Now, whose saint will you be?

Have you taken the same time, the same care, to be there for others in the way others were there for you?

We all have a choice to make.

Because that little dash in between our numbers – the dash we are filling in right now

It’s being written for you, right now.

We don’t get to write our own obituary after we’re gone – by then, it’s already been written.

The time for writing is right now.

Whether you know it or not, whether you’re aware of it or not,

You are writing your life story – and it’s that story that you will leave behind when you’re gone.

So is it a story you would be proud to have told?

If you could read your obituary, would it humble you to hear how well people think of you?

Or would it humble you with shame to hear how little you meant?

Because that’s the choice we own – what story are you writing?

You could spend your life making millions –

Go sky diving, mountain climbing and hang gliding,

Swim with the sharks, run with the bulls, even soar with the eagles,

Live a life our world would say was lived to the fullest.

But a life truly lived is a life filled with love.

Because, when it’s all said and done, we’re all put here for a reason –

And we were saved for a reason, too.

If we live our life for ourselves, why on earth would Jesus die for that?

But if we can live a life that leaves its mark on others –

If our lives can come to an end surrounded by those who would say of us that we have made a difference in their life –

To be loved and honored and cherished because you helped someone –

Because you took the time to push, pull, nurture, mentor;

To care, to love, to teach, to inspire.

Now that is a story worth reading – a dash to be proud of!


Right now, take a few moments and actually write your own obituary.

Ask yourself these questions:

Aside from the basic facts, what would your obituary say if it were written right now?

What do you hope it would say?

What do you want it to say?

If your great-grandchildren were to read it, what would you want them to know about you?

Take a few moments right now to write your own obituary – what you want it to say.

Because it’s not too late to change your story.

You are forgiven for the life you’ve lived up until now,

And you are not too old to do better, with God’s help.

So write the obituary you want written about you.

And then live it out.

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