by Beth Shriver
I’m using this example because the departed would want me to, he was just that kind of a guy. Although he didn’t grow up in the Amish community his grandfather did and all of the relatives before him. His last name was Yoder so I knew he had Amish roots. When I first started writing Amish he told me that if I ever needed information he had lots of stories, and he was a great story teller! I recently told myself I was going to go see him because I knew he was sick and I wanted to find out why his father left the Amish community. He passed away two weeks later. I missed out on saying good-bye to one of the most admirable people I know, and hearing first hand about the characters I work with every day. Marlin Yoder would have made them real.
His Amish relatives came to the funeral. They were an Old Order group from Kansas who wore the traditional black and white clothing. It was interesting to hear them reminisce about Marlin and even more so what they chose to remember him by, it was so Amish. He had a bird call that no one could quite figure out what bird it actually went with, if there was one at all. He had an incredible work ethic that is so common for the Amish, and he loved to sing! Amish are big singers, they sing for two sometimes three hours straight at services. Can you imagine? My throat’s dry already. And he clapped his hands which isn’t so uncommon for any of us who sing worship songs, but not for hours. He loved his students unconditionally, and prayed without ceasing. No really, you hear that but Marlin really did it.
What would my friends and family say about me? Probably not about bird calls, singing and clapping. Maybe the work ethic part, and I do pray, but still not compared to Marlin. Would something profound or really deep come to mind… I hope so, but probably not like the words I heard for Marlin.
I tell you all of this two-fold. Because many of you are writers as well and we all know how important it is to be accurate with the facts when writing. I often hesitate when there is an opportunity to interview someone, or make a connection with a person who might have some insight on what I’m writing about. I’ve learned to seize the moment and have come to find out that people are usually eager to answer questions for you, and your story will be a lot better for the effort.
But more importantly this experience has made me think about how people will see me when it’s my time to go. I’m learning how to make my life simpler and that maybe the little things like bird calls and singing your heart out are more important than I thought.
Question…What is your interview style, and how do you find people to interview?
Personal Question…If you could write your obituary what would it say?
Below is a link for one of Michael Hyatt’s blogs titled Making a Life plan. He is chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. http://michaelhyatt.com/creating-a-life-plan.html
Beth Shriver has written eighteen books, and writes in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction, Funeral Hopper, to Amish, Annie’s Truth.