What's the cause of your life?

We learn an awful lot about a person reading about their death.

I appreciate a good obituary; one that speaks to a life lived. Unfortunately many of us don’t have the luxury of being eulogized in inch after inch of newspaper type by someone who can adequately navigate the arc of our life. So our families are left with the task.

Usually, it’s a very utilitarian thing, here’s who died, here’s who they were close to (if you know them you should attend), and here’s the where and when. It’s not until the end we learn the most about them.

“Memorial contributions may be made to…”

Sometimes this is where we find what killed the person, which is a shame (unless what causes their death was their cause). But when done right this is where we see how a life was spent as opposed to how it was taken.

This past week the Midwest Writer’s Conference and the Selma/Muncie (IN) community in general lost a great champion, Alan Garinger. We’d all be lucky to have an obituary as all encompassing as Alan’s, as we’d all be lucky to live a life in which we follow our passions and give of ourselves like Alan did.

Among many things, Alan was an author of middle-grade fiction and a teacher.

It’s no surprise that the cause of Alan’s life is represented at the end of his obituary:

“Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends Preschool of Friends Memorial Church, 418 w. Adams St., Muncie, IN 47305.”

So this Tuesday of the $10 for Tuesday Project I’m giving my 10 bucks to Alan’s cause. I’m also taking a moment to ponder the cause of my life. What would yours be?

And there is no greater way to honor an author than to read his work in which he’ll live on forever. So if you know a middle-grader that likes to read, check out Alan’s latest.

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