It’s hard to write an About me page. It’s kind of like writing your own obituary except you feel way too full of life to look back at your past and sum up your experiences, however ordinary, in a tidy paragraph listing accomplishments that are supposed to matter.
So before we get to what matters, let me get the obituary version of myself out of the way:
MY OBITUARY (No, I am not really dead):
Lara Patangan, 42, had a half-full life. The full parts included marrying a boy from high school. Although they did not date in high school, they did kiss once in an elevator at the end of their senior year. (It’s probably inappropriate to write about kissing in an obituary, but since I am theoretically-dead I am going to write what I want.) He was very, very good to her – the blessing of a lifetime.
She had wonderful friends who encouraged her, made her laugh and knew that she hated to be hugged when she cried. She loved Jesus and always wanted to meet Him. In a lot of ways, she wanted to be Him. But there was that whole human thing and she was much better at being flawed and fallible than Christ-like.
She graduated with a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida, but wished she had majored in English because all she ever wanted to do was write. She had a career in development for various non-profits: a domestic violence center, an AIDS service organization and a children’s hospital. Besides writing, she loved cats.
She had two sons, who because of their father’s dominant genes look nothing like her. Having children was the hardest thing she ever did and by far the best thing. The very best thing.
After staying home with them for 10 years she finally started doing what she believes she was meant to do – write. She started a blog on her 40th birthday because she figured the other alternatives to a mid-life crisis would be too complicated, costly and regrettable.
She spent her 40th year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy (and explaining to others what that meant, i.e. feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison etc.)
All it really meant was that she volunteered and wrote about her experiences, sharing them in a way that felt very public, vulnerable and uncomfortable. Still, she felt like what she did mattered and like most everybody, always wanted to matter.
In addition, she was a freelance journalist for two newspapers and loved the opportunity to tell someone’s story. However, she also had her own story to tell and that is where the obituary ends and life begins…
Welcome to Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do… I am happy you are here. After writing my own obituary, I am glad I am here too. After all, no one’s obituary should ever read that they lived a half-full life.
But I suspect a lot of people do. A lot of people simply go through the motions — chase success, their kids, the material, the accolades, the supposed-to’s and the image.
To me that’s a half-life. Life is short enough already without reducing it to a fraction of what it is meant to be.
I want to live the fullest life possible. I bet you do too.
For me, having a full-life doesn’t come from the material. It comes from the desire to make the world a better place, to know peace and to share kindness. That is what Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do… is about – ways to live a full life.
I know making the world a better place starts with me, with the choices I make, the injuries I forgive and the work that I do within my community, my relationships and myself.
I hope you decide that it starts with you too. And I really, really hope that we can make the world a better place together and that the power of our combined goodness and mercy will increase exponentially, even beyond what we will ever see.
That kind of goodness may not ever be quantified in our obituaries, but it leaves a legacy that survives long after we draw the last breath.
For now, death can wait. We have work to do to make the world a better place – starting with me. Starting with you.
Please sign up for posts to be delivered straight to your email and join me as we share the work that matters most – being better people. In hopes that when the decades cease to pass, the world will still whisper of the graces left in our wake.