LEGACY OF THE HEART
Writing Your Own Spiritual Will
Recently, an acquaintance of mine had the misfortune of losing his Dad in an automobile accident. As the only child, it fell to Dan to go through the apartment where his Dad had lived alone since the death of his wife three years earlier.
As Dan cleaned out the apartment, he hoped to find some kind of personal message that his Dad might have left for him. “ I just wanted a note, an old letter, something to remind me of my Dad. I found nothing. It made me feel kind of empty, like I was missing something.”
You can provide that “something missing” by writing your own spiritual will. Contrasted with a legal will that deals with the “stuff” we want to leave our loved ones, a spiritual will is all about matters of the heart. A spiritual will is a way to share your values with your family , your memories, the things in life that mattered most to you, the cool and the quirky, the funny and the painful.
Some have described this written gift as a love letter to family and friends. A spiritual will gives you the opportunity to tell your spouse or kids what was important to you in life, your beliefs, hopes and dreams.
You can put on paper family stories that brought a tear to you eyes or joy to your soul… your daughter in her first prom dress, the time your three year-old son ran out of the house buck naked. Maybe you can put on paper things about yourself growing up. Write about the kid they never knew. Share with them the lessons you learned from life. Recall that special teacher who turned your life around, that first date with their Mom. Ask their forgiveness for the times you may have failed them.
Writing a spiritual will is your final gift to the people who have been most important to you. If you find that you haven’t said, “I love you” nearly enough in life, let all those inhibitions go when you write your farewell letter. This is a great opportunity, your last chance to tell your loved ones how you feel about them and the life you have shared together. This is your own personal “Legacy of the Heart.”
From time to time I have led workshops on “Writing Your Spiritual Will.” I have also written a small booklet on the subject which I would be happy to share with anyone for $5 including postage and handling.