A reunion and a funeral
By Lisa Smartt
Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:01 pm
This summer will be my 30th high school reunion. I’ve gone back and forth about whether I want to attend the festivities. Truth is, I was a nerdy “nobody” in a huge high school class in North Texas. I realize now that no human being is a “nobody.” Unfortunately, that confidence and understanding came long after high school. When my classmates talk about the reunion on Facebook, I get nervous just remembering that weird insecure period of my life. When they post high school pictures, I’m always the geeky one in the back row. It doesn’t help that our high school class produced a myriad of over-achievers. Wall Street whiz kids. Editors in New York City. Professional athletes. Research scientists. One of our classmates recently did a book review on the Today Show. If you know an unbelievably good-looking 47-year-old who’s a famous inventor, a successful business owner, and sidelines as a NASA astronaut ... I probably went to school with him or her. Yeah. You can imagine my hesitancy about going to the reunion and re-living my place on the geeky back row of “Over-Achieving High.” But then something changed.
This week my husband’s grandmother died. Her funeral was a beautiful tribute to a life well-lived. She loved the Lord. She cared for her family. She only finished eighth grade and never traveled overseas. Hers was not a life spent in the spotlight. She never wrote a book or performed on stage. She couldn’t play a musical instrument or entertain a crowd. But she could sew beautiful clothing and make delicious biscuits. Grandma spent the majority of her 89 years standing in a small kitchen serving others or working in the garden. She could feed a house full of people without going to the grocery store. Did she resent the conventional role of a homemaker? Absolutely not. And she wasn’t constantly clamoring for more things, better things or newer things. She chose happiness and contentment with what she already had. Her funeral was simple and beautiful just like her life.
Sitting in Grandma’s funeral gave me opportunity for reflection. I want to go to my high school reunion now. Not to show them all that I’ve done well or to prove that I’m as good as my famous counterparts. No. I want to go because I know who I am and who I’m not. And I’m fine with letting other people know that too. I’m a mom of two imperfect boys who farm chickens, trap raccoons, make average grades and rarely pick up their dirty clothes without being told. Oh, and sometimes they back talk. I’m the wife of Philip. We think sitting on the front porch and watching deer is the most entertaining thing we’ve done all year. We eat beans and rice and cornbread at least once a week. We never wish we lived a “bigger” life in a bigger city with bigger dreams. We know that people may forget our accomplishments, but they will never forget our love and care for them. We believe that God’s idea of success is far different from what’s on reality television every night. Grandma taught me a lot with her simple life. This week she taught the most poignant lesson through her death.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.19.11