Have you ever thought about your own funeral and what it might be like? I have. I think the thought process always follows the line of internal questioning that boils down to this: did I make an impact in this world?
Yesterday was the funeral service for Annette Garcia, and there is no question that she made an impact. There were pastors and ministry leaders from across the state there to honor her. The U.S. Ambassador to Israel sent a letter of condolence. Media partners who had become personal friends over the years, crossed international borders to share their love and appreciation of this incredible woman.
I sat beside my husband and parents, looking around an auditorium that likely held about 500 people. There were many faces I knew well, and many I didn’t know at all. Side by side sat teens and the elderly, a wide variety of faith leaders, and a rainbow of skin tones. Background and affiliation didn’t matter. There were all united together for one purpose. They were there to honor a woman who had touched them in some way and made their own journey through this world more bearable.
I have no doubt that had the opportunity been given for personal tributes, the funeral would have lasted far into the night. The stories of how Annette impacted each life could fill an encyclopedia set (for those who remember what that is). It’s no exaggeration to say that through Annette’s efforts and direct actions, lives were saved and forever changed.
In the 8+ years that we worked together, I got to see her in many seasons of life. There were financial stresses, family tragedies, hard business decisions and times of celebration. Annette never panicked or walked in fear. She may not have known what the outcome would be, but there was always peace knowing that God was author and perfecter of her faith.
This last few weeks has been a difficult transition for me. I made the decision to leave radio and pursue a new job less than 24 hours before I got word of Annette’s passing. Never have I wanted her council more than now. Something stressful and confusing had happened just a few days ago, and I found myself reaching for my phone to call her, only stoping myself seconds later as the realization of her death washed over me once again.
It takes time to process the loss of someone you love. It takes a lot of time to establish a new “normal” when someone as vibrant and impactful as Annette is taken away. The beauty of a life well lived, is that it continues to radiate as those who experienced change through that life, now go out and impact others.
In closing, I will leave you with some of the lessons Annette passed on to me. I hope to live them out and honor her legacy.
- Prayer is not a last resort. It should be an active part of your everyday life.
- Faith is not magical thinking. It’s a well founded trust in the Creator of the universe. Even when the answer is “no” or the outcome is contrary to what we prayed for, He is to be honored and trusted. His ways are always better than our ways.
- Honor your husband.
- Love your children and pour into them. They need you in every season whether they realize it or not.
- Value co-workers and business partners, even when they act irrationally. When they offend or anger you, you have the opportunity to take the higher road.
- Love purposefully
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