Sunday, February 28, 2010

Did the Greeks write obituaries?

I love the movie "Serendipity" with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It's the story of how soul mates find each other through a sequence of serendipitous events 10 years after spending a magical night together. I am not one to watch something that will depress me. I always go for the movie that you can predict the ending within the first 7 minutes. I happened to watch “Serendipity” again the other day. The phrase that made me think was when John Cussack's buddy in the movie says to him "The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: Did he have passion?"

I did Google whether Greeks truly did write obituaries or not because I found that to be fascinating. It turns out that they did but this phrase has nevertheless made me think about passion and what if it is missing in our life.

In one of the classes I took, our homework was to write our own obituary. I am originally Lebanese and that is culturally mortifying for us. We don't do well facing death or anything about it. After getting over that piece of it, I decided to give this exercise a shot to see what I would come up with. I can't tell you that I remember what I wrote those few years ago but I can tell you that kind of question makes you think about your life and what you're doing with it.

There’s something to be said about living with passion or fulfilling your dharma to its fullest. I had a chance to reevaluate my life and the priorities I was giving things again this last summer when I almost lost my life. I can truly say that the experience of losing a baby at 20 weeks and almost losing my life in the process was a great kick in the butt to de-clutter what doesn’t work anymore. I said to a friend of mine tonight that I feel like the page has been turned and God has given me a pen to write the story of the rest of my life the way I want. It’s great to be the author and editor of your life!

So if I were to die today would I be content with what my obituary will read? I’m not sure that I can say yes at this moment. What’s missing you may ask? I guess that’s the question that I’m going to have to answer for myself now that I’m thinking about it. I can tell you that humility is one thing I’m trying to have more of, I’m always trying to be a better listener, I’m trying to allow more and do less, I’m trying to be calm and in my center more often … just to name a few things off the top of my head.

So give this exercise a chance and write your obituary after you read this post. It may be fascinating to see what ends up on that piece of paper.

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With humility,


  1. Howdy Mary,

    I went to Google right after hearing him say that. Right after. I am still watching the movie, but I saw your post and so I am responding to your request about my thoughts. Thanks for that!

    I attempted to send you a comment which has some relevance and some not. However, as fate would have it, it's too long a message!


  2. Jim,
    I had a chance to re-read this post after you commented on it. I can say that I've added a few more items to my list. The thoughts that you came up with were probably meant to be for you and not to share.
    Take care,

  3. As I was googling for contents for my blog on passions, I came across your blog. Your blog resonates your passionate emotions and renewed convictions towards life. Enjoyed it!!

    If you like, you could check out my blog on passions:

  4. I just want to say, what a great post. Marking a tumultuous time in life with positive clarity and change! Beautiful.