Why would anybody want to write their own obituary 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years from their funeral? On the surface it sounds crazy doesn’t it? That’s exactly what some people think when they find out the Hero On A Mission (HOAM) workshop and course start with that.
What I’ve discovered is as crazy as it sounds on the surface, beneath the surface it may be one of the most sane and helpful things you ever do in your life. Really!!!!
Here are five ways writing my own obituary as a HOAM has helped me tremendously as I look to the future and all I hope God could do through me.
It Gives Me Clarity on the Person I Want to Be
I’ve had a saying in my adult life that helps guide me: “Who I am is more important that what I do.” Doing the HOAM exercise of crafting my aspirational obituary reminds me of just how true that saying is. The person I am; my character and reputation; that supersedes any achievements I might attain, or wealth I might create, or thing I might build. The person I become–that’s the masterpiece.
It Gives Me Clarity on What I Want to Accomplish
Once I’m clear on the priority of my character, then I am very excited to attempt great things for God. Writing my obituary helped me solidify the passion for what I believe I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life and the kind of impact I hope to make. That kind of clarity is what is teaching me how to say “No” to good uses of my time so I can focus on great uses of my time. I still have a long way to go because I struggle to say “No” to people’s requests. But I’ve seen progress. And I desire even more.
It Gives Me Clarity on Who I Want to Spend Time With
My obituary showed me yet again how important my family is to me. It also helped me recognize new friendships I need to make. I was able to imagine scenes of loving, warm, supportive, healthy, and growing relationships with people that mean the world to me. Just the thought of these relationships makes my life richer. The experience of it will be all the more satisfying.
It Gives Me Clarity on How Far I Need to Go
The process of envisioning this climactic scene in my life also helped me understand just how large the gap between my dream and my reality is. I see clearly how far I still need to go. Building a life worth living doesn’t just happen. It requires I cooperate with God by adapting to the circumstances he’s placed me in, and using the talents, advantages, opportunities, and time he’s given me to co-create the life I dream of having lived in my obituary. There’s a line in ancient Hebrew poetry that says, “God gives us the desires of our hearts.” I take that to mean: these dreams that found their way on to the pages of my obituary; any of these aspirations that are noble, good, right, and true, were placed in my heart by my Creator and Redeemer.
It Gives Me Urgency
Finally, writing out my obituary gave me a sense of how short my life really is. I didn’t just become aware of how large the gap is between my present reality and my hoped for dreams being realized. I also became very aware of how small the gap is between today and the day I breathe my last breath. Time is short. Time is precious. Time is a gift. Time is a trust. I want to make the most of the time I’m given!