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Mary Lou's Secret

This is a painting that reflects a summer storm.

Some of the most impactful moments can happen at the most unexpected times. Recently, I had the great privilege of officiating a memorial service for an 85-year-old matriarch named Mary Lou. The family gathered around a gorgeous marble bird bath custom made to settle into a cemetery plot next to Mary Lou’s daughter, husband, and several other family members. We sang and then opened the service up for a time of public sharing. There were multiple moments worthy to write about from that sweet communal time, but one phrase had an impact upon me, and it is my hope it might inspire you as well.

The moment came from a young woman who shared that one of Mary Lou’s favorite things to do was watching storms come in from a distance. There was one time where the two of them were standing together watching a storm-laden morphing sky coming closer and at the perfect moment Mary Lou leaned in and whispered,


She went on to explain that when Mary Lou would say “LOCK IT IN” she meant to stop what you are doing and make sure you firmly lock this moment into the memory banks of your heart, mind, and soul. I was so convicted by this story because my tendency is to move so quickly from one moment to another that I rarely take an intentional pause to “LOCK IT IN”.

As we start this new year, my hope is that all of us would take Mary Lou’s words to heart and pause long enough to lock in the moments that come our way. Let’s commit together that during this year instead of just frantically moving from one moment to another we instead would make a conscious decision to pause and “LOCK IN” moments that are happening around us. In some ways it is the simple ancient monastic practice of being mindful and present within the simple moments of our lives, which I would argue are probably the most important moments of our lives. Thank you, Mary Lou, your legacy lives on and has impacted a relative stranger since I barely knew you. Who knows, your life just might impact a whole community as we walk together through 2023.

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