It’s Not What You Have, but How You’ve Lived

two women stand on rock side by side facing backward enjoying beautiful sunny weather
by Vance Larson

She came to see me October 4th. I was sitting in my office when I got a call from the homeless shelter that I do outreach for. I was told that there was a women in our parking lot wanting to speak with me. I wasn’t expecting anyone that day, for I just returned from a few hours of early morning outreach. I hung up the phone and started to make my way to see her.

I met the woman and her mother. She told me that she had a bunch of bags containing clothes, toys, food, toiletries and so on, to give to the homeless. The parking lot was not position to receive donations, however I started to unload them nonetheless and a coworker came out to give me a hand. It was then, started to talk to the woman and her mother and here is their story:

The mother was sitting in the front seat. I went over and introduced myself and started to thank her for the donations. She said the reason why they were making the donations is because her long time husband had just recently died from cancer and after a long battle, they decided to stop treatment.

On the fourth night after treatment had stopped, her husband opened his eyes and said “Amen”. The last words he spoke, as he died shortly after at 10:04 in the evening. The first thing that came to mind that is was October 4th (10/04). She then spoke about the kind of man he was: he always was looking to help the next person, and did so without many people knowing about it and he quietly gave away blessings. It was a beautiful story, and we exchanged a few tears and words about God, and then they left. During my hour commute home I pondered upon the days events.

The tenth month on the fourth day, was the lady’s husbands last breath, at the tenth hour and the fourth minute. 10/4 will now always have a deeper meaning to me. This family was inspired to do good and to be a blessing in honor of their father and her husband. That got me thinking about my legacy. In all honesty, how people remember me is not so important to me. However, I would hope that after an entire life of service, that I would inspire people to do good, or at least learn to see the good in every situation.

It’s not what you have, but how you’ve lived.

What about you? Would your life and philosophy impact people in a positive way? Does that even matter to you? I have worked with some very powerful and high profile people. When they passed, it had very little effect on their circle. It’s not for me to speculate as to why? However, in my professional dealings with them, I would think that the kind of life they led, didn’t inspire them. I revert back to “It’s not what you have, but how you’ve lived, that makes the difference.”

For me the lesson of this past week has been, when people ask me why I live the kind of life that most don’t understand? My response will be “10/4”. 

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