When All is Said and Done


It's been almost fifteen years

since I first heard the song by that title.  Darin Peterson, one of Scott's teachers at Immanuel High School, recorded the song by Geoff Moore on a collection of songs he compiled to comfort us in our loss.  The song speaks to what really matters in life; what will be remembered ~ when all is said and done.

About five years ago I participated in a two-year program on leadership being offered at my church.  The final assignment was to write a Personal Mandate ~ a capstone for our twenty-four months of training. In writing my Personal Mandate, I had to ask  some serious questions. How will I choose to live? Why will I live the life I am living?  What will be my legacy ~ how will I be remembered?

Quite honestly, I moaned and complained about this project.  It totally stretched me to break down my life into a statement of purpose, articulate my core beliefs and create the strategies to achieve a desired legacy.  I remember that for me, the best way to accomplish the task, was to start at the end and work backwards.  So I began with the question in that Geoff Moore song ~ what will be said about my time here on earth, when all is said and done?

I have to admit, in the end, I loved writing my Personal Mandate.  I find it to be a solid rock on which I balance in my life, and determine how to invest my time and energies in those things that conform to my God-given purpose for living.

That brings me to this week.  Through the wonders of technology, I was able to be present for the funeral of Todd MacDonnell, a former pastor from our church.  Although his memorial service was held in the small community of Pierz, Minnesota, I was able to participate in the service from our local church sanctuary via a Skype connection.

Todd was just 48 years old.  Eleven short weeks ago he went to the eye doctor for a sudden change in his vision.  As glasses did not help, and other symptoms surfaced, Todd was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  There he was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. No known cause. No known treatment. No known cure.  Todd's health declined dramatically, and he went to be with the Lord in less than 3 months.

At his memorial service, speaker after speaker stood to read some of the thousands of notes and letters which were sent to Todd during his brief battle with CJD.  Again and again, each writer spoke of how Todd had been instrumental in helping them become who they are today.  Each commented on the consistent and faithful way Todd lived out his faith ~ never wavering, even with his impending death.

As I listened to the tributes ~ Todd's legacy ~ I remembered the words of that song once again ~

When the music fades into the past,
When the days of life are through,
What will be remembered of where I've come?
When all is said and done?

Will they say I loved my family?
That I was a faithful friend?
That I lived to tell of God's own son?
When all is said and done.

Of how I long to see the hour,
When I would hear that trumpet sound.
So I could rise and see my Savior's face,
And see him smile,
And say 'Well done.'

You can forget my name
And the songs I've sung,
Every rhyme and every tune.
But remember the truth of Jesus' love,
When all is said and done
When all is said and done.

And so this morning, I am thanking my friend, Todd MacDonnell, that in life and in death, he continues to urge us on to greater things, for eternity's sake. With my Personal Mandate in front of me, I am once again focusing on the importance of leaving a godly legacy ~ when all is said and done.

It is never too late to redeem the future and leave a legacy that will continue to speak, when you have nothing left to say.

NOTE: For information on how to write a Personal Mandate, please leave a comment with your contact information, and I will share the process with you.

Finishing Well

The telephone woke me about 5:00 a.m. on February 25, 2004. It was the nurse from Bethel Home telling us that on their last hourly rounds, they found my dad had passed away in his sleep. I called my sister, Kathy, in Long Beach, and then Amy, our daughter. Amy said she wanted to go with us to spend some time with Grandpa. Tony and I picked up Amy at her home, drove through Starbucks

(so glad they open at 5:30 a.m.)

and drove to Bethel Home, in neighboring Selma.

There we sat, with my dad, Grandpa Goodie*, whose earthly tent lay motionless in the bed. It was there we prayed and thanked God for bringing Dad back to us. If you follow my blog, you will know that my dad went through a rough time


read about my prodigal dad


~ from 1993 to 2003, to be exact. The estrangement from him was painful and consumed me for almost two years. With a wonderful counselor companioning me, I was able to reconcile the loss of my dad's presence in my life


read about the fat cows


, and rest in the hope of a reunion in eternity.

Then, in 2003, my dad humbled himself and came home. Literally. He came to live with us. He met his great-grandchildren for the first time, ate pot roast and gravy like Mom used to make, and listened to Amy's husband, Jeff (whom he had never met) play hymns on the piano. He lived with us for about one year before suffering a stroke which took him at the age of 94 years old.

So on this the anniversary of his death, I remember a father who finished well. He was not perfect. He lived with regret and brokenness. But, his story is truly one of

redeeming the future

. His pride, his shame, his old age . . . all could have kept him separated from his family. It seems many individuals become set in their ways. But my dad chose to

come home

~ to renew the relationships lost with his family, confess to God and to us the hurts of the past 10 years, and finish well.

The thought I have today, February 25th, is a powerful one.

It is never too late to redeem the future.

I am told by those who keep statistics that only about 60% of individuals actually finish well. I am proud to say the my dad, William W. Goodrell, beat the odds at 94 years of age. As we met at the mortuary to take Dad's body to be cremated, I stood before the box where he laid. Tony and my dear friend Eunice were with me. I asked Tony to give me his pen. And with tears streaming down my cheeks, I wrote on the lid of that box:

Thanks for loving me.

Thanks for coming home.

Thanks for finishing well.

Tell Mom and Scott hello.

We'll see you soon.

Remember . . . It is never too late to redeem the future and finish well.

*My maiden name is Goodrell. When I was little,

I could not say it clearly, so my dad's parents became Grandpa and Grandma Goodie.

The name stuck and when our children came along, my parents inherited those loving names.