It was Saturday night and my phone buzzed. An SMS from our Masjid SMS system said, "A Sad Demise...". This was a typical message when a congregation member of our community had unfortunately passed away. The message said that the funeral ceremonies would be held Sunday morning at 9AM.
The member was a family friend and a person whom I had known since my arrival to Houston in 1983. He had lived a full life so it was a mixed feeling. A person who has lived a full life finally departing; leaving behind a legacy, memories and friends who will remember the great times.
Funerals always make you think....is the rat race we run everyday truly getting us to the goal of leaving a legacy? This question I have asked more often recently than ever before. The last three years have truly been challenging for me. With the company of great friends and colleagues I started a business in 2006. The journey has been a long challenging one. At many times, even today we continue to ask, "are we doing the right thing?"
But at this funeral as you stand in front of the body in state and pray the final prayers, you are reminded the full circle and journey of us. For the journey must be about the pursuit of happiness and building a legacy. What crystallizes for me is the last conversations that friends, families, colleagues and congregation members will have as you lay in state? What will that legacy be?
A human being hidden deep in the subconscious always pursues immortality. Even though we all know immortality is not possible, yet the human life force instinctively desires it. It longs to live forever. Everyone thinks about it everyday. But then at a funeral you are reminded that immortality is a fable and that it is not possible. My question: is it is truly impossible? What is immortality?
My thoughts are that immortality is the legacy we leave behind. Today as people spoke gently about the passed away, it was interesting to understand that the legacy of this person who just passed was now frozen in time. He had in essence now become immortal. His memory was frozen in time; immortal. He will forever now be remembered as the last person he was before he took the last breath, or last seen, or the last deed he had done.
As my journey since 2006 has allowed me to unplug from the corporate money grabbing rat race, I have come to realize that ultimately my journey must take me to this immortal state. For anything else would be a futile waste of energy, time and resources. What is it that we all long for? Is it the big car, the expensive house, the luxurious vacations? Well of course we all want that, but what will be the whispers when I lay in state? What will the conversation be when people gather to stand in line for the last prayers for me? What will be the thought in the person's mind as he carries the casket with my body in state in it? Will the weight he carries on his shoulders be a burden or a some form of longing to be part of my immortality and legacy?
For today I resolve - my journey must be part of the greater good. As cliche and as soapy that may sound, it is a journey often aspired by all but achieved by a few - close your eyes, think for a minute about who comes to your mind first as you try to remember a loved one. Think about why you are thinking of him so fondly. You have just answered the question - what does immortality and legacy truly mean..now go and try to achieve that. That my friend will give you the ultimate prize in life.