" 'I want to make a difference with my life. I want to make people feel. I don't know how exactly - I'm not especially talented at anything. I'm not an accomplished musician or a gifted writer. I can't sing or dance or sculpt or paint. I really can't do much except cook. Cooking and cleaning - that's all I'm good at. But someday I'll learn how to do something important, something that really matters. And I'll create a masterpiece that will inspire people worldwide for centuries to come. Until then I guess I'll just keep cooking and cleaning.' "
I stopped reading and lowered my sister's journal. "Adrienne's one desire was to make a difference with her life, to inspire people, make them feel, give people hope. She thought the best way to do that was to create something extraordinary, something unlike anything else in the world. A novel that would become a classic. A painting that would someday hang in the Louvre. A symphony to outshine all others.
"But Adrienne was never able to reach her goal. She won't ever be remembered in history books as a woman of great influence. She never even tried. Her twenty-one years of life were too filled with daily tasks for her to give much thought to her great aspirations. Her time was consumed with cooking. Cooking for the homeless at the soup kitchen each week, for new mothers and for women whose husbands were overseas, and for elderly women who can no longer cook for themselves. A good majority of Adrienne's time was spent cleaning for many of the same people. And even though my sister never wrote a novel, she wrote letters. She wrote notes of encouragement. And she always knew just what to say."
I closed my eyes and envisioned my beautiful little sister just was as she was on the last day I saw her. She was lying on the grass in the backyard, five year-old Jaclyn from across the street was helping her to illustrate the letters she had written to our cousin's Marine Corp. unit stationed overseas. She was smiling.
I slowly re-opened my eyes and looked out over the hundreds of people seated in front of me. They were all here because they loved Adrienne. Because somehow, in her own quiet way, she had touched them. My eyes were dry as I watched women dab at their eyes with handkerchiefs, some even crying on their husband's shoulders. Little children clung to their mothers. I chose my words carefully.
"Not a day will go by that I don't miss my sister. But I will always thank Jesus for her life. Adrienne's life was her masterpiece."
I finished my speech and as I walked back to my seat, I began to cry.
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