Legacies aren’t just for the rich and famous—everyone leaves a piece of themselves behind. How will you be remembered?
Maybe it’s because I will soon be 65 years old.
Maybe it was the weekend with a house full of family—from grandkids, to grown-up kids, to siblings. Talking, loud play, chaos, and lots of laughter.
Maybe it’s the things left to me by family that evoke memories: good and bad, happy and sad, treasured and neglected, puzzling and illuminating…
All of my visitors this weekend share my DNA. It’s apparent sometimes just by looking: eyes, nose, hands, walk, thick head of straight hair, gestures, or facial expressions. Sometimes you need to listen to find the things we share: phrases, tone of voice, decibel level, or two of us saying the same thing at the same time and then looking at each other in chagrin.
It’s both nature and nurture that is trailing along in my wake like the bread crumbs dropped by Hansel and Gretel. And it is experienced by not only my family, but my friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, fellow drivers, strangers, and those who wait on me in my favorite coffee shop…
How do others react to the legacy of behaviors I am leaving behind? What will they remember when I am gone?
“I am who I am.” That true to some extent, but we have choices. All of our traits exist on a sliding scale. We get to choose.
- My gift of the gab can be overwhelming and non-stop or welcoming, encouraging, and interspersed with listening.
- My energy can be distracting or enthusiastic.
- My ability to “lay all the cards on the table” can be accusing and hurtful or loving and peace-keeping.
I can’t control others’ thoughts or opinions—that’s not my responsibility or my desire! But I am in charge of myself, and I’ve chosen to give myself (body, soul, heart, and mind) to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That means I can’t stay in the same self-serving, navel-gazing, narcissistic place of my human nature. I need to move toward a God-like personality, ask the question “What would Jesus do?”
What do I want to leave behind; what’s my legacy? I’d like it to include:
- laughter and enjoying each other
- a stream of love overflowing and splashing on everyone nearby
- a reflection of God’s light, wisdom, and stories
To those who have encountered and will meet my humanity, I hope you will remember someone who asked forgiveness and mended fences.
What are you leaving behind?