NPR's All Things Considered recently addressed a topic that can be a struggle for many--going to a funeral. Deirdre Sullivan's father taught her that you always attend a funeral, even if you don't want to, for the sake of the family. While it may be an uncomfortable hour of your life, you may not know what to say, and the timing may be terribly inconvenient, the family and loved ones will remember your effort and caring years later. Interestingly, she extrapolated this "Always Go to the Funeral" philosophy into other things we may not want to do.
"'Always go to the funeral' means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don't feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don't really have to and I definitely don't want to. I'm talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex's uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good versus evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing."
It's a good lesson for us to ask what "funeral" we're avoiding, and weigh the discomfort against how showing up now will reflect on our legacy when it's our turn.