I occasionally reflect back at my life and ponder all the choices I’ve made and how they have directed and affected my life and others as well. There are choices that I made with much regret and sorrow and others that I would make again in a minute. Most of us can probably say that about some of the decisions we’ve made in our own lives. You can probably guess from the blog title that I am writing about my brother’s legacy. Before I share some things about him let me define what legacy means. Legacy is “something handed down or received from an ancestor or predecessor.”-(Webster) Our legacy or the legacy we leave behind is not about wealth or prestige or power, but about our actions and how they will define us and how they impact others in our lives. Our legacy is something bigger than who we are today. It is more than what you did this week, month, or even this year. A legacy is something that we have created and continue to develop as we live out our life in the presence of others we touch.
THE FOOTPRINTS WE LEAVE BEHIND
I wonder what legacy I will leave behind. Do you ever wonder the same? You should! Every moment we live, we are not only creating an impact on our life, but those that we touch and interact with as well. We will touch others either positively or negatively and our touch will affect others in different ways. Just as we leave our footprints in the sand as we walk along the beach, we leave our footprints in the lives of our loved ones, family, friends as we walk along our life’s journey. Each of us will leave a legacy or a different foot print in the lives of each one we touch or interact with.
When I recently read this quote “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself”-(Emerson); it reminded me of the things my family and friends (the ones still living and the ones who have passed) have shared with me. It quickly brought to mind my younger brother Tom. He died of cancer several years ago and I thought about the legacy he left us. He was called home in 2011– thirteen days before he would have turned 55 years old. Before he died I wrote him a heartfelt letter and a some parts of which I will share with you below. I was proud to have been his brother. I hope you get a sense about the kind of legacy he left.
“I thought I may have the opportunity to say some things to you in person, but conversations sometimes take bunny trails and I wanted to make sure I had a chance to tell you some things.~~~ I appreciated the spiritual foundation you set in your family and the character you were trying to develop in your children.~~~ I know you and Joy have shared some difficult times in your life and you haven’t let those things or unexpected bumps in the road of life spoil your relationship. It can be difficult not to let those things affect your marriage. You have been a great example to others and especially to your children. Thank you for setting an example for us.~~~ I enjoy and appreciate your spiritual passion and hunger for the Lord. It wasn’t difficult to know where you stood and that you were committed to your beliefs. Thank you for speaking out when you thought you had to and not giving up. We could all learn a bit more from your example.~~~Whatever personal battles or struggles you have had in your past and the ones you are about to go through it is about to be finished and your successes have clearly been achieved. Your life has been an extra-ordinarily successful journey and at times (like most of us) have had painful and sad moments. Other times filled with the freedom and joy and happiness as someone as unique as you could ever have known. As I watch you go through this last step in your journey, I know you will go through it as you have in your past with success and honor and soon your ultimate goal and rewards will be given to you from the Lord. He (who resides in your heart) is looking forward to welcoming you home and giving you things that you could never have ever imagined receiving.~~~ You have lived your life admirably and honorably. I have been very proud of you and am very proud to call you my brother. I hope you know deep inside of your inner man how much you are loved by me, your family and others. You will be greatly missed. Rejoice as you will soon be home.”
WHAT WILL BE YOUR LEGACY?
Considering what I have taken in from others and what I have learned from my own experiences has been a powerful tool to explore who I am and what I hope to leave behind. We should all ask ourselves “What legacy do I want to leave and how do I want to be remembered” ? We can orchestrate what memories and legacy we leave by focusing on what we do or don’t do in the present so that our goals line up with that legacy we strive to author. Planing on the legacy we leave behind connects us to those lives we touch and influence. It also offers a sense of purpose in choosing how and where my I allow my energy and time to be consumed. I encourage you to take some careful thought and examine the things you want to leave behind and the things you want to carry forward. Every day you live you continue to paint on the canvas of your life and more importantly on the lives of others. How will you be remembered and what will you be leaving them? What will be your legacy?
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.