Making a Difference

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This wasn’t the blog that I planned to post this week. I wrote this week’s (intended) blog yesterday, but today I decided to post something else. I am not exactly sure why other than the bookmark I found from Ruth’s Last Lecture. That, coupled with going to two funeral services this past weekend, is probably the reason that I am writing this. The blog I intended to post can wait.

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Most of the family who were present for Dad’s services.

The first of the two funerals services was my Father-in-Law’s. I wrote about Dad/Gramps/Will in a previous post. His service was held in Silver Springs, Florida in the church that he helped build. The church was full of loved ones, relatives from Maryland to Florida and many points in between, as well as many friends. Military honors were a part of the service. A lovely lunch was served after the funeral, then the family made our way to the graveside. There we said our last goodbyes to the family patriarch whose passing leaves the rest of us to carry on and keep the family together. May we be up to the task.

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Dad’s five children, standing in birth order: Dianne, Mike, Joe, Steve, and Phil.

The second service was a memorial service for a friend in Southport, NC, the owner (with his wife, Carol) of Northrop Antiques Mall. Chuck Mahoney was a gentleman in every sense of the word, which is what I will remember the most about him. He also had military honors bestowed upon him, given as gratitude for his service to his country. The family and friends who were gathered for Chuck’s service enjoyed a lovely lunch after the service at his home, followed by comments from many present about their memories of him.

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Funerals bring us back to what really matters. Family first, and friends who are family are included in our circle of love. We show our love by being present, if only for a few hours to say our goodbyes. Others show their love by being there for them and us; feeding us, providing sustenance for our journey.

Now, the bookmark from Ruth’s Last Lecture. I received the bookmark at Ruth’s memorial service a few years ago and found it today in a bag I decided to use. I am often amazed by how things show up at just the right time. When I found the bookmark, I knew it was intended for this week’s blog.

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Ruth Glock was a professor at Iowa State University, a specialist in Textiles and Apparel. She was very credentialed, and she had co-authored a well-respected textbook. Ruth’s legacy lives on in many ways. She had taught her students many things and will be remembered for those things. But Ruth’s greatest lesson that she taught her students may not have had anything at all to do with academics. It had to do with a much more important subject matter; life.

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What Ruth may be remembered most for teaching her students was the Butterfly Effect, which was on the bookmark given to attendees at her memorial service, the bookmark I found today.  The Butterfly Effect comes from a book by Andy Andrews. The philosophy of the Butterfly Effect is that we have more impact on others than we may ever realize and that even our smallest actions matter. Every move we make, every action we take, matters. What we do today matters forever.

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As long as we live, our decisions and our actions matter. When we are no longer living, our legacy continues. What we do with our life today matters forever. More than the number of people who attend our funeral service, or those who come together to serve those in attendance. More than military honors.

Ruth’s bookmark reads, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. How will you use yours to make a difference?” A worthy question for those of us still able to, to ponder.

Patti name

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About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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