I’ve been reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People these past couple months, a little at a time on the train ride home from work. Every time I read it, I find myself nodding my head and saying “Huh” or “Mmm” or “Yes” out loud. It’s so good. It’s not a typical self-improvement book with quick fixes but one that analyzes the way we look at the world and encourages shifting our lens to one that stems from unchanging principles.
I’m on the second habit which is to begin with the end in mind. He asks the reader to imagine yourself at your own funeral three years from now. There are four speakers there to talk about what kind of legacy you left behind. The first speaker is family, the second is friend, the third is someone from work, and the fourth is someone from your community or church. The exercise was to write down what you would hope they could say about you in the near future. This is what I wrote:
Husband- At the beginning of our marriage, my wife couldn’t cook very well. I still remember the dak galbi she made that was too sugary and gingery but I wolfed it down anyway because she’d made it for me. Over the years she kept trying and got better little by little until somewhere along the way, she became my favorite chef. I never wanted to eat out because her food was so good. This was how she was throughout our marriage. When she made mistakes, she took responsibility for them and learned from them always wanting to be a better wife, a more loving wife. Mijin was committed to me, loyal to me, and loved me no matter what, even on the worst of days when words flew jagged and tension threatened to explode. She forgave easily and was a woman of grace, being quick to apologize and slow to anger. She was compassionate and tried to understand me. She supported and encouraged me in every way; she was my number one fan. And I was her number one fan; she followed her heart, took risks, and was a woman of strength and integrity. We respected one another and worked as a team, like a well oiled machine. Mijin brought out the good in me and inspired me to be the best I could be. From the moment I saw her, I thought she was beautiful. No other woman could compare. Whenever she looked into my eyes, I felt known and loved. We always had fun together, even if it was just taking a walk around the block or sitting on the couch at home. She was my best friend, and I’m going to miss her.
Friend– I have fond memories of Mijin- a lot of laughter- the kind that’s crazy and loud and out of control, and a lot of tears- the kind that come from a deep place within and can only be shed with those you trust. She would share herself and wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable, inspiring me to do the same. She would tell it like it is and be upfront about things, even if it meant hurting a little. So when we fought, there was no resentment but confrontations that ended in understanding and respect. She made me feel important, like I was the most interesting person in the world. When I spoke, I knew she was listening and remembering and engraving me deeper into her heart. Mijin was there for me during my most difficult times, and I will never forget our friendship and sisterhood.
Work: From the moment Mijin joined our staff, our school changed. Every day, she brought with her a joy and peace that was contagious. Her students adored her, and she never failed to respect them regardless of where they came from or what their story was. She was able to grow close to them during their short time there and encourage them in a way that built their confidence. Not only did she teach English, but she taught them how to thrive. She remained calm in the most difficult of situations and was able to solve problems with creative approaches. Mijin was hard-working, coming to work early and staying later, going above and beyond in all her work, and taking the initiative to do more than asked. She was professional yet warm and built lasting relationships with both the staff and students.
Church: Mijin was one of those genuine people who lived transparently. She wasn’t one way on Sundays and another the rest of the week, but she was consistently herself and totally honest about it. She was kind of quiet but when she prayed, she roared like a warrior and waged battle with a fierceness that only knew victory. Mijin never got burnt out or served more than she was called to. She walked with God everyday and their friendship was close. She loved both God and those around her. In her ministry, she set many people free from their past, addictions and emotional pain, she healed the sick, raised the dead, and discipled nations all in love- in selfless, committed, and furious love.