Leadership Lessons From My Grandmother’s Funeral

On Sunday, May 15th we laid to rest my 89-year-old grandmother Sallie Dodd otherwise known to her family as Maw-Maw.  There are a multitude of things you can take from any person’s life but there is one that I want to focus on regarding this wonderful lady.

Suffering from lupus and later cancer, Maw-Maw spent the last 15+ years of her life primarily bed-ridden and living in a nursing home.  Though my dad and aunt may disagree, I never heard her once complain about her lot in life. 

Maw-Maw mastered the ability to be content and bloom where she was planted.  With the ability to look out of only one bedroom window for over a decade, she made a huge difference with what she had, where she was at.

I meet many leaders who never experience contentedness.  They are not happy where they are at and are constantly looking for the next big opportunity.  In particular, I hear about many pastors who are hoping to get hired at a “better” church with “better” people than where they currently are.  I wish they would simply build a “better” church rather than look for new one.

In addition to contentedness, my grandmother possessed a mental toughness that I have not seen in anyone else during my lifetime.  If you were to visit her during the past month, you would see an extremely fragile, 65-lb individual ravaged by cancer.  However, I never saw weakness.  Rather, I saw the toughest, strongest individual I ever met.

Leaders, especially pastors, this week things are going to get tough for some of you.  You’re going to think “I’m tired of banging my head against the wall.  These people are never going to learn.  Enough is enough!  Things are never going to change. I’m leaving.”  Some of you may even be feeling this way about your marriage.

When these thoughts come to your mind, remember Sallie Dodd.  Stay mentally tough.  Be content and thankful.  If you are doing the right things daily, you are already a success.  It just hasn’t manifested itself yet.  DON’T QUIT!  Things will improve. 

And if I may, one final personal thought – Maw-Maw, you ran a great race.  You were a faithful wife and an incredibly loving mother.  You fought a great fight.  Enjoy an eternity with Jesus and without lupus or cancer.  Enjoyed being healed.  I’ll see you soon.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

5 Responses to “Leadership Lessons From My Grandmother’s Funeral”

  1. Do they make them as tough these days? Not sure about myself:-(

  2. My condolences to you Brian.

    My “nonna” as we called her was a big influence on me as well. I know the type of space this loss can leave, so I can empathize. My gram lived into her 90s, was a tough lady, but always with a great attitude towards life, and a very strong faith.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I enjoyed reading today’s article very much. Spending time with my family is something I do often. I try to keep up with today’s trends so we have more in common. Thanks again for sharing your article.

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