Julie Andrews is famous for her roles in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and many other movies and musicals. Now in her mid-80s, she revealed in an interview, referencing her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, “As long as they all remember me fondly I will be very, very, happy.”
I find it interesting that in her later years, Julie Andrews, who has enjoyed a lifetime of fame, wants to be remembered fondly by her family most of all. Many of us may not have a strong desire to be famous, but there’s still a healthy reminder for us in Julie Andrew’s words.
We can find ourselves trying to impress people with whom we aren’t all that close. We watch our manners, act nicely, and put on the charm with perfect strangers. It can be nothing more than good acting.
The real questions are, how do we treat those who live with us behind our front door when the door is closed? How do we treat our extended family members at family gatherings? How do we treat our friends when they’re having a bad day, or we are? How do we treat our co-workers when things are tense at work? How do we treat our neighbors when they’re not acting very neighborly? Yes, the real question is, how do we treat those nearest to us?
Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror, writes in his blog of a time years earlier when he and his wife were going over their schedule. “One evening as we reviewed our calendar and a stack of time-consuming opportunities, the thought came, Why not prioritize everything we do on the basis of who’s going to be crying at our funeral? We did it. The results saved our family.” (Man In The Mirror Blog, October 25, 2014)
Who’s going to be crying at your funeral and mine? Of all those in our sphere of influence it is these, the attenders at our funeral, over whom we have the greatest influence.
Others with whom we’re not so close may appreciate our kindness and be hurt by our meanness, but they’ll move on with their day. Not so with those near to us. We’re important in their lives, those that would shed a tear or more at our funeral. These are the people, though they be few in number, who deserve the best of us that we have to offer.
I, along with countless others, think Julie Andrews is a great actress. When she dies, if she does before me, I won’t be at her funeral, and I likely won’t cry over her passing. Neither will those countless other admirers. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will. Julie Andrews knows that. We should too!
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor [those near you] as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14