|Inspire Others To
Remember Your Life With A Smile
A prayer service
By John Jantsch
It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily swirl of activity filling up our
lives that moments of real clarity about anything can be rare. I made this
seemingly simple observation sitting in a church pew attending an evening
prayer service for a young woman who had lost her battle with cancer.
That’s the phase you enter when you turn 40 I guess. It’s funny but no one
ever told me about that one. I knew going to college would be a transition,
I assumed the same about getting married and I was warned about what would
happen to my life when I had children but no told me about the pain I would
feel watching my friends brace themselves against something so
I went to church that night prepared to suffer a bit. I did not pretend that
I could feel anything close to the pain felt by those whose lives were
touched daily by this women, but I went there feeling especially sad for her
11 year old daughter. I think most of us experience events through the world
as we see it and I was experiencing this loss as a parent.
A parent who wants to be there when his daughters present themselves at the
top of the stairs to greet their prom date or when they return home from
college that first Christmas to tell me how genuinely they miss me and to
take them in my arms and swirl them around the dance floor as the father of
the bride. I felt as though this family had been robbed of those cherished
One by one throughout that evening, however, a group of remarkable women
eased this grief and led those in attendance on a special journey. These
women were her closest friends and all spoke of only one thing – love. They
spoke of love in childhood memories, little touches that made a difference
and family life. Before they were finished laughter and an air of lightness
were at home in the oddest of places.
None of these women spoke of or even hinted at loss or missed opportunities.
There was seemingly no regret and while I know there were tear filled eyes
there were also smiles. They spoke about little things, about kindness,
about listening, about treasuring and mostly about unconditional love
I don’t know that any of these women would naturally call themselves gifted
speakers but each in their own way glowed and so did we all. This service
was not about death and disease it was surely about life and love. And more
than anything else it was about how a woman…to that point…had lived
And in that place…as a parent…I felt this. Somehow this beautiful brown eyed
little girl was going to be just fine because she had been filled up by
someone who sang to her and rocked her and made batch after batch of cookies
for her and who sat patiently while she made just one more request before
And you know, that may be just enough to see her through because love once
given in that manner can never be snatched away…even by this.
It is not my intention that this piece attempt to speak for the feelings of
others…I am merely relating how I have been impacted. I don’t have any idea
what it would be like for a child or a husband to lose this part of their
life and I’m not suggesting that there won’t be struggles ahead, but I do
think that perhaps I will try not to worry so much about the things I want
for my children or for me or for my scrap book.
Perhaps the really great things are contained in providing some measure of
love in every present moment, in really little insignificant things…the
things that inspire others to remember your life with a smile and a love
filled story or two.
John Jantsch is a free lance writer, business owner and father of four
girls. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri and can be reached at 816-561-3931