The story goes, how some years ago now, a Swedish industrialist was reading his morning paper over breakfast and to his amazement read his own obituary. Obviously, the newspaper had reported on the death of the wrong man.
The man read on, intent on finding out what would be said about him, assuming he was dead. The column heading read, “Dynamite king dies”. As he was reading the text underneath, he was surprised at the description of him as, ‘a merchant of death’. He was the rich inventor of dynamite and the manufacturer of weapons and explosives.
He was concerned at this description of himself as ‘a merchant of death’. From that point on he devoted his energy and money to works of peace and human betterment.
Today of course he is better known, not as ‘the merchant of death’, but as the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was Alfred Nobel.
William Shakespeare said, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. In Alfred Nobel’s case, he got prior warning of how he would be seen by future generations and he decided to do something positive about it.
Perhaps it might be an interesting exercise for all of us to examine how we’re living our life at the moment and consider how we might be seen by others after our death.
It’s never too late to change our ways. Particularly if it means offering help and support to those in our family and community, instead of concentrating on our own wellbeing and importance.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.