Who will remember you?

Today is Memorial Day. It’s when people are supposed to pause from their day-to-day activities to remember and pay tribute to others, especially those who have given their lives in the service of their country.

The day is marked by picnics, sports, games and lots of sales at all types of stores. It also marks the official start of the summer season, even though the summer solstice is still three weeks away.

Today, I took time to visit my mother’s grave. She died last year and I had not seen her grave with the new headstone in place. It was a time to reflect on her life and what she meant to me. It is supposed to be a somber moment of remembrance.

Yet, as I stood atop the hill at the cemetery overlooking a sea of thousands of graves of people I never knew, I was haunted by a question: Who will remember me after I depart this life? In fact, who will remember any of us?

It seems like such a waste that an entire lifetime is over in a flash and soon relegated to a single marker as though to say, “Greg was here from August 20, 1960, until _______.”

In James 4:14, the Bible notes, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Indeed. We are obsessed with our own legacy, yet we don’t really know anyone in our own lineage beyond the two generations of people who preceded us — our parents and grandparents.

Most funeral services are nothing more than an obituary recital. She was born on this day, married on that day, had X children, got a degree in such-and-such, and went to work at ZZZZZZ. They are often boring and not very memorable.

Occasionally, a speaker will toss in a few recollections in an attempt to tell the story of the person’s life. He or she will try to encapsulate all the happened during the dash, or the days between when the person was born and died.

Yet, our lives are far more complicated than that. We were uniquely created with distinctive personalities, likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, habits and desires.

A pastor or funeral director will sit down with family members of the deceased person and ask some general questions in hopes of extracting enough information to give a five-minute tribute to the person during a memorial service.

Family members will stretch their minds to remember key dates and details. Some may even argue with each other regarding the person’s beliefs, mannerisms or other aspects concerning how he or she really lived.

After the service, they’ll gather for a meal and recall their own memories of the person’s life, whether good or bad, true or false. A year later, the stories are nothing more than distant memories. Proof of the person’s existence and time on earth is captured only as lifeless shadows in voiceless photographs.

It’s really a shame. Technology exists today which enables everyone to capture and create a permanent record of their own story. But, very, very, very few people take the time to do so.

This summer, do your friends and family a big favor by taking some time to capture the essence of your life, in your own words. Write it down on a tablet or speak it into a video recorder.

Tell them what you want to be remembered for and, more importantly, why.

Everyone has a story to tell. Don’t take yours to the grave.