November 1st is “plan your epitaph day”… I’m not joking, I saw it on a calendar.

An epitaph is defined as “text honoring the deceased, most commonly inscribed on a tombstone or plaque.” In ancient Greek, ἐπιτάφιος, it literally means “on the gravestone.” 

So… this started me thinking about what my epitaph would be.

If I were to plan my epitaph, how would I come up with one?

Is planning my epitaph really coming up with a phrase or verse that I would want on my gravestone? Or is it not so much writing a few words to sum up my life as it is looking at my way of life?

Maybe planning my epitaph places more focus on how I live, rather than on some words that will be engraved on my stone and then forgotten.

Maybe an epitaph is literally a text that honors and remembers a life, but maybe it is not so much the text that makes up what an epitaph really is. Maybe what really is the heart of an epitaph is the heart and the purpose of the life.

And so… in order to have an epitaph that I like, I have to think of how people are going to remember me. I have to consider what others would say about my life, how they would sum up my purpose. What would they say was the focus of everything I am?

Would I be happy with what they’d say about me? Would they say that I lived what I believed, that I practiced what I preached? Or would they say that I had good intentions but didn’t live them out, that my words didn’t match up with my actions?

Would my epitaph line up with the way I want to be remembered?

Think about the way you hear certain names and immediately either smile or cringe… Mother Teresa. Abraham Lincoln. Your best friend. Your favorite teacher. Don’t these names bring a smile to your face? Think of the sudden shudder you get when you hear the name Hitler or when you hear about the person you know who never has anything nice to say.

I want my life to reflect the One I live for.

“For me to live is Christ [His life in me],
and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity].”
Philippians 1:21, Amplified Bible]