Friday, May 22, 2009
The Space In The Middle
I recently traveled home to Ohio for my son's wedding. It was such a wonderful trip and I enjoyed being with all my family--especially my parents. There is nothing that can replace family--nothing. I felt so blessed to be surrounded by all the ones I love so much.
On Sunday morning I had the priviledge of attending church with my brother, Dwight, and his family. On the way back to my parent's home, I decided to go by the cemetery where my two brothers were laid to rest. The cemetery was close by and I felt a need to be there. I drove slowly, memories flooding my mind. When I came to the stone that bore my brothers' names, I parked the car and walked to the place where I had said goodbye to two of the finest men I had known.
This time, however, I noticed something that had never struck me before. I read the dates of birth and death that were so familiar. I ran my fingers over the names carved in the stone and allowed the tears to fall, as they always do. That's when it happened. One of those rare insights that come when you least expect it.
I realized that the dates were not the important thing. It was not the fact that my brothers had been born and had died that was so important. It was what they had done while they were alive and how they had filled the spaces of their lives that tugged at my heart strings. It was the memory of how they had filled the space between the dates--the space in the middle--that really mattered. The events of their lives, their achievements, the love and the laughter of each day they lived--this is what I miss and cherish the most.
The spaces in the middle are filled with memories of birthdays, Christmas, summer vacations, dinners, and life celebrations. I recall the smiles of each brother and the sound of their laughter. I can sense the quiet strength of my brother, Don, and the fun-loving spirit of David. I could almost feel David's bear hugs and Don's soft kiss on my cheek.
I am reminded of David entering our church and always coming to mother's pew to kiss her on the cheek, no matter who was close by. My mind went back to two weeks before Don's death when he gave his heart to the Lord as he prayed with our Mother one morning after work. These memories are what assures me that their death is but a temporary separation. I will see them again.
Then, I thought about the spaces of my life--my own space in the middle. How am I filling it? What am I doing to make sure that my life is remembered as valuable and the things I have said and done are cherished by those I leave behind? Have I done enough to show others the way to the wonderful Lord I love and serve? I want those who follow behind me to be inspired by what I live and teach in a way that would draw them to Jesus. I pray to leave a legacy of faith and hope for my children and my grandchildren. I have come to realize that each day we have is the only opportunity to make that day count. Once it is gone--it is gone. I don't want to come to the end of the day , and find it filled with regret and sorrow. I want to
live each day to the fullest and fill it with as much grace and honor as I possibly can. I desire to be remembered as a woman of integrity---as a woman who loves the Lord.
A childhood friend of mine wrote a song a few years ago with the same title "The Space In The Middle". I do not remember the verses but the chorus speaks volumes,
"The space in the middle will say it all for me.
And the life I leave behind is my most valued legacy.
On that old granite stone, from my birth to my death,
I know the space in the middle is the greatest thing I've left."
(written and recorded by Gina Vera)
My prayer for each of us is that we fill our lives with the things of God. May the Lord lead us and guide us in being all for Him that we can be, so that, when we are remembered we will be remembered well. The space in the middle will speak loudly for me---may I fill it well.