In September we celebrated the life of Michael O’Neil, Sr, my former spouse of 32 years, and best friend of 49 years. It was fitting for me to give the eulogy. My dear Catholic Church that doesn’t really know me at all, permitted me a whopping three minutes to wrap up what Michael meant to me! The Church no longer allows a lay person to give a eulogy during the Mass, so prior to the Mass I had three minutes to tell the world that Michael swept me off my feet many years ago and saved me from what could have been a most ordinary life, and that he knew I was smart, although my college grades did not indicate that. He knew I was creative although I rarely engaged in creative activities. He taught me how to parent, how to be a good friend, how to start a business of my own, and most important, how to give because others needed.
Being a rule follower, I of course kept within the three-minute time frame. I had rehearsed the eulogy a number of times (and moaned about being limited to only 3 minutes) to ensure I stayed within the rules. Funny, as I looked over the congregation, not a person moved, all eyes were on me, and when I completed the eulogy, the crowd applauded. I took that to mean they got the message, only three minutes yet they got it. There has to be something said for the three-minute talk, rather than a rambling 40 minute attempt at capturing the deceased person’s life. When pushed to a 3 minute time frame, I had to choose just the right words, there was no room for extra adjectives, ramblings or repetition.
Surely there are other times when I take far more time than necessary to make a point, to complete a task, or to teach a concept. (You might want to interject here that sometimes my blogs go on too long!). Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN are succinct, taking just the right amount of time needed for things. They do not stretch things out, or beat around the bush until they bring home a point. They know what the point is and they make it. I have room for growth here and will continue to work on being to the point, capturing my listener and holding her attention, then giving her time to draw her own application.
Thank you Catholic Church for the boundaries you provided that enabled me to deliver a message about Mike that truly captured his time on earth. The time boundary forced me to be precise and to the point. When the parishioners left the church that morning, they knew the essence of Mike, that he gave not out of convenience but because another was in need. And when I left the church that morning, I had more respect for the three-minute boundary.