Pumpkin in Paris...All Saint's Day
Friends moved to Paris for a year and live right next door to Notre Dame cathedral! That's their humorous Halloween pumpkin glowing from the window. What a hauntingly beautiful setting: the flowing Seine river, the historic Parisian islands, and the sore-thumb-looking Tour Montparnasse (the best viewing spot in Paris because you can't see it!)
“We’re here to soak in the culture.” This year, they’re in the memory-making business.
Today, November 1, is All Saints’ Day, a time to remember loved ones who passed away. How can we speak to our kids about death?...without conjuring up images of ghosts and goblins!
Through marvelous memories.
On a recent consulting project, our client was celebrating the 50th anniversary of a brand that carries his name. As our team considered how to commemorate this man's life work, we explored the multiple facets of legacy: the obvious material one, and the less evident legacies of affirmation, modeled life, memories, and soul.
What's the French word for this rich perspective on legacy or heritage? Our international team came up with “oeuvre”, the work of art which our lives represent.
What brush strokes are you already in the process of leaving behind? What memories are you chiseling into your others' lives? With whom? How?
As a child, I recall the gathering after my great-grandmother’s funeral. To my astonishment, it was a party!
So many people gathered from afar to honor her and to recognize the impact she had on their lives. We reveled in story after story. “She was a spirited woman. It kept her healthy. Remember how she washed her own hair for her 100th birthday?” (She passed away at 102 years old). “She cared for others. She was like a mother to me.” “How she loved life...and chocolate!” My all time favorite tale was of her going out west (frontier U.S.A.) in a covered wagon. (Is that why I love Lucky Luke?!)
I want a party when I die too!
They’ll come because my life has connected with theirs. We laughed out loud (hopefully lots come for this!!!), cried together (very meaningful and intimate), prayed with fervor in our anguish and our joy (survival of the unfit), tried new things (hello, adventure! Bye, bye boredom), failed and succeeded (finally), asked and gave forgiveness (freeing), loved with passion and purpose (at least some of the time)...
Now, there are only 24 hours in a day...and many of them are overbooked. Where can we fit in quality time?
Thomas Edison is an inspiration in here. Quality time = using available time with purpose. That's my formula. Here are his words: "I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.” From the expression on his face, being intentional didn't turn him into sour grapes. My business history teacher used to ask us, "Would you like to have dinner with _____ (the historic person under study)?" I'll bet there are few dull meals with Thomas Edison! With a personal commitment to come up with one minor invention every ten days and a major one every six months, he must have been deliberate in his listening, conscious of people and their needs, persistent in his attention, and engaging in his manner of selling new ideas.
I wonder how much richer our lives would be if we came up with one minor family memory every ten days and a major fantastically memorable moment every six months.
Oh! so much celebrating on All Saints Day!