Earlier this week I (Matt) attended the funeral Mass of a dear friend, Tom Lynch, who died a week ago at the age of 83.
Earlier in his life Tom was best known as the owner of Woodhouse Lynch Clothiers, the haberdasher for all of the bankers and lawyers in and around E. Broad St. and Third. Tom’s daily routine was legendary. After a very early morning workout at the Athletic Club, Tom would walk next door to his business and spend the day chatting with customers or those just walking by as he swept the sidewalk in front of his store. Whether it was our mayor, a bank president or a laborer in a hard hat, Tom greeted everyone the same – a positive greeting, and perhaps a quick story or funny joke for good measure. Tom loved others deeply and so was loved deeply by others.
After he retired, Tom grew more and more active in his parish, St. Andrew Church, and in a number of ministries that served those in need. He attended 6:30 a.m. Mass daily, always in the same pew. He participated in Bible studies and men’s faith sharing groups. And he shared his love for Christ and his passion for life with anyone and everyone. Hundreds of people felt they were a good friend of Tom’s because of the way he listened to them and cared about them. As just one small example, Tom called me every year on my birthday – and I know he did that for many, many others. He dearly loved his wife Mary Lou, their children and grandchildren and his friends – he will be greatly missed.
After the Mass, I found myself reflecting on how he will be remembered. It made me think about how I’d like to be remembered. And I put that same question to all of us – how do each of us want to be remembered? Consider investing some time to reflect on and pray about that and write down how you want that question to be answered. Then begin today to be that person with everyone you encounter. Do you want to be remembered by your grandchildren as a caring and engaged grandparent – then be that caring and engaged grandparent with them today. Want to be thought of as generous and kind? Then determine how you will be generous and kind today. It’s so important to live each hour in the same manner that we want our life to be lived – truly the ways we live out the minutes and hours of our life will become the ways our entire life is lived.
The church was filled today. But it’s not the number of lives that Tom knew that was most important – but the kind of impact he had on those lives. Don’t wish for an overflowing church – wish (and work) to deeply impact the lives of those God places in your life, whether many or few.
How do you want to be remembered?
Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-founder