What are you leaving behind when you die? This past Sunday I shared a glimpse into defining what Vanity meant. What is Vanity? Does the definition extend past one thinking too highly of oneself? Or is there more to the definition than we normally discuss? On Sunday I heard the readings and I listened intently to the homily. Father Elio struck a cord with something that has been on my mind for years.
In the Gospel, Luke 12:13-21, we read about a parable.
We are reminded that our lives are not defined by our possessions. They are defined by memories of us. We cannot stop at the store to purchase memories. We can buy journals to write them down. We can take photos to look at later. We cannot buy memories. All of our possessions merely serve as means to an end. We acquire pieces and goods to move us through life. Some of these objects make us comfortable. Food, which we can grow or buy in a super market, nourishes our bodies. Memories are created by our actions; what we have done and what we will do. As beautiful as things tend to be, Father Elio reminded us to see that they are not ends within themselves. They are only a means to an end. Our end. Sure, we can accumulate wealth and leave a nice trust behind for our family. A few generations down the line though will they remember us?
Will we be the great grandmother/grandfather that was rich and left their wealth behind? Or will we be the person they remember because of the stories told of our deeds and our actions?
For years I have been so focused on what I have to show for myself. All these pretty things … that I should have used towards paying down debts. I would have more free time now to volunteer and do good deeds. Instead I bought …pretty things. I fight this battle of being seen as what our society shows as one being successful versus what I know in my heart success really is. Giving away the possessions I do not need feels like a step in the right direction. I am shedding my vanity and becoming someone that people will recall by name… not because of what I left behind but because of the deeds I did that changed lives, starting with my own.
Lucky for us God does not ask of his children to be successful but to be faithful. We must have faith that what we seek in this life is to come. If we put our trust in God we can strive to be rich in what truly matters!
I leave you with today’s reading:
What definition of Vanity are you most familiar with?