Monday, August 15, 2016

One Thing

I've just returned from a big family reunion so the topic of legacy is top of mind.  When I read an article that asked the question "For what one thing do you wish to be remembered?"  I was intrigued.  I pondered a while on my own answer, then did a totally unscientific survey of people at SPPC.  Some answered, others felt they couldn't, but all engaged in interesting conversations.

The first answers were about relationships -- loving spouse; good mom/dad. One young person felt he couldn't answer as he hadn't had time to do anything yet, but those on the other end of the age spectrum didn't mention what they'd "done" but rather what they "are."  
Some were job-related.  A person in a position of public trust wanted to be remembered for his honesty with taxpayers' money. The retired nurses among us mentioned compassion, competency and devotion to their patients as worth remembering.  A music teacher remarked that his students liked to come to lessons, even if they weren't very good musicians!
Others wanted to be remembered for particular qualities like loyalty to friends and family or the gift of a joyful heart or the willingness to help.
No one mentioned gold medals or high marks or big bank accounts!

The biggest value of  this question is not the answer, but the consideration of the answer.  In some form or other, we all leave a legacy as we pass through this life.  The answer to how we wish to be remembered, provides a good guide for how we should live.

At that family reunion the legacy of my forebears was evident in the place,( now in its third generation), in the family stories, -- the uncle with a bullet hole in his shoulder from WW1, the aunt who taught us all to swim -- in the shape of a face or a familiar gesture, and in our kinship with one another. 
 It was also evident on Sunday morning when the church service was held at the farm, under an awning.  The preacher talked about God and gardening and I gazed across a field of barley to the weathered boards of the original homestead.  All around I heard echoes of the people I'd loved who'd gone before me, while those who came after climbed the branches of the old silver maple and played tag on the lawn.  I think my pioneer ancestors would be pleased.


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