Don McCaleb passed away on Thursday

“Don McCaleb passed away peacefully on Thursday with his wife and family by his side after a courageous battle with cancer. You are invited to Don’s memorial mass at Holy Ghost Catholic Church.“ 

I came across the obituary online a couple days ago. Looks like Don McCaleb had a pretty great life. “He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend whose presence in our lives will be deeply missed. Affectionately nicknamed ’OB,’ he played ball at the University of Texas, where he met his wife on a blind date. Through hard work and dedication, he built a respected drapery business. If he wasn't at the shop, you could find Don watching deer and birds from his porch, or cheering for his grandkids sporting events. Don’s humor and sound advice will be missed by his many lifelong friends.”

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This tribute from a Houston newspaper got me wondering about life and legacy. Would dedicating most of your days to draperies leave you feeling unsatisfied and empty at the end of your life? I spend my days hitting keys on a MacBook Pro. Is that any better?  Do I chase so hard after inspiration and the next creative moment that I miss the quiet, salt-of-the-earth goodness that OB found in little league games, sitting on the porch and sewing curtains? 

Of course, obituary writers smooth over the rough parts in a life story. Were there dark places in OB's life that he kept in the shadows? What were his regrets... his secrets? Before he died, did he get to see beauty bloom from the broken places in his journey? 

When they put me in the ground, will people say I was devoted to my family, just like OB? Will I get a sweet nickname before I die? Lots of deep questions.

I think the best part in OB’s obituary is this: “Don’s presence in our lives will be deeply missed.” I hope I can be truly present in people’s lives in a way that will be deeply missed. I think that means making the most of every opportunity to show love and grace. I guess that’s something worth shooting for, whether you work in a church, or in a drapery shop. What would you like to see written about you when you're gone?