Legacy

Someone came before me and someone will come after me, so I am in between two sources of light. And, there are also those that surround me and overlap my life. They breathe and dream and offer themselves to the world, just like I do.

We are all a mixture and I wonder, what will my legacy be?

Perhaps this is a question someone older asks. Someone who has lived many years and pauses to reflect a bit. I am 68 years old and the idea of legacy has woven itself into me. It breathes through me and feels as though it gives more abundant life to what I share.

Legacy seems such a big word to me and I wonder if this is true. It suggests a summary of one’s achievements, especially those that can be passed along. A house, an investment portfolio, a business. A division of assets to the family.

But, it feels like so much more to me.

I ask myself, what am I sharing with the world right now? Does it make it a better, grander place? Do I extend outward or mostly sit back and receive, filling myself up?

And, is my life more beautiful because I am connected with the lives around me?

Have I absorbed enough to be able to pass on the beauty, fire and passion I feel inside? Have I taken on some of the qualities of those I love and passed them along, continuing their essence and placing their dreams into another generation of dreamers?

I realize that my personal legacy may not be important in the grand scheme of things, since I am just one of over a billion essences that have passed through this incredible world. But to ME, I am everything.

Are you not everything to yourself?

Is not every word and thought and action our legacy? Does it not speak for who we are in this world? We who want to be heard and we who hope to inspire others?

Are we not more than our grand accomplishments or the money we leave to others?

I believe it is so. I believe the daily acts we perform, the single beautiful moments we suspend in time and the silent gestures of love and compassion are our greatest legacy.

We are each a treasure chest for those around us. Filled with beautiful gifts beyond the value of gold and diamonds.

We are so powerful. We can offer hope and friendship. We can sit with the sorrows of others and, when they happen, we can celebrate their successes.

We can serve as a link, offering recollections of those who have gone before us and adding our own visions to the stories of those who will live beyond us.

What could be more beautiful?

So, what have I decided to do?

It is this…to claim my best, most authentic life. To live as consciously as I can, offering love, embracing joy and creating moments of celebration, for if I live my best life, I believe it moves out naturally into the world. It creates waves of energy that touch everything. I hope my energy flows and connects so that I become a part of all. What a divine legacy.

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Hope

One block from the house I grew up in there are two large pillars. Silent sentries, standing guard at the gateway of a five-way intersection. They’re probably made out of concrete blocks and are covered with some sort of stucco facing. They’ve been there my whole life or at least as long as I’ve lived here in town.

I remember as a kid sitting on top of one of them each Memorial Day, watching the parade pass by.

I had to ride my bike down to the pillar, even though it was a short distance. I did this because I had to lean my bike up against the pillar so I could climb onto the bike seat and jump up on to the top. It offered me a wonderful view. And surprisingly, no one else seemed to think of sitting there, so it was always available to me.  

I often found the pillars to be a source of strength. Especially so, when I used to walk home at night by myself from my boy scout meetings at church. It was kind of scary. But the pillars gave me a sense of peace. I did find I had to also repeat the twenty-third Psalm to myself, at least until my house was within sight.

I still see the pillars a lot. Every Tuesday morning, I pass by them on my way to visit my 96-year-old mom who still lives in my childhood home. And often on evening walks I cross paths with them.

Both have cracks now, one more than the other. Large chucks of stucco have fallen off. They lay there on the ground at the feet of the pillars. There is something incredibly sad about this to me. They’re coming apart, piece by piece. I feel like I need to do something about this.

It feels symbolic to me somehow. It seems to fit the whole feeling surrounding this pandemic. A sort of crumbling.

I wonder, is it the same for us? Do we sometimes come apart, piece by piece?

I’m strongly led to take action. I want to fix the pillars. I want to resurface them, sealing them tightly, so they won’t come apart again. And I want to write a word in bold bright red letters across the face of the patch. I want to write a beautiful word there:

                                           HOPE

I want it there for everyone to see…to remember that no matter what happens in our lives, there is always hope.

I wonder, who do I ask for permission to fix the pillars? The Highway department? The Town Administration?

Part of me is drawn to the expression that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

I wonder too, how would I patch them? What materials do I use? Who would know the right way to do this? Is there a DIY YouTube video for fixing crumbling pillars?

Every time I walk by, I think about these questions.

I come back to the same thought over and over. It’s a thought that the NIKE marketing team would feel so proud of. JUST DO IT.

I have a lot of reasons why I won’t be the one to get this done. But, the most valuable question for me is…do I have one reason TO get it done.

I want the answer to be YES. I want to share a vision of hope with the world. At least the part of the world that passed by my beautiful, ugly pillars.

I’ll keep you posted, so stay tuned.

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Power

Recently, my wife and I were babysitting our two local grandchildren. Their family lives near a very active train yard and we’re pretty used to all of its noises. The screeching of rail car wheels against the tracks and the loud slamming and banging of train cars being coupled. And, all of the whistles.

But, what we heard last Wednesday went far beyond any of these sounds. It was as if every train car in the yard had suddenly been picked up and smashed into one another in some kind of massive train wreck.

It turns out, it wasn’t trains we heard, it was the wind. It howled and shook the house. It destroyed trees, pulling some enormous giants out by their roots and simply tossing them aside.

The devastation was mind blowing and widespread.

And, of course, the power went out. Went out and stayed out.

Once my wife and I were home it was time to go into action. Time to find all of the flashlights and candles and get out extra blankets for us, plus one for my 96-year-old mom, who stayed with us. Of course, there was one more important thing to remember, don’t open the refrigerator door!

You probably have your own tales to tell about power outages, so you know how the story goes. No heat, no food, no light, no TV or computer. And for us, no cell phone, since we don’t have a car charger.

No communication with the outside world.

Powerless.

The part of me that wasn’t feeling sorry for myself understood this is the way vast portions of the world’s population feel every single day of their lives.

I don’t mean being without electricity, although there are many who exist this way. I mean feeling powerless to have the kind of life they want, for themselves and for their families. Powerless, with no real prospect for that to change. Powerless, and probably, hopeless.

I thought of all the people whose whole world falls apart due to some calamity. Some outside or inside force that shatters their lives.

I thought of those who deal with disease or oppression or racial injustice or malnutrition. The list goes on and on.

I thought, what is my powerlessness compared to theirs?

You might be wondering, what is the message of inspiration here?

Well, part of the answer is found in knowing how our electricity was restored. PEOPLE. Humans reconnecting wires and reestablishing a path for the power to travel.

People working together we are capable of incredible things. We’ve been able to reach out and touch the moon and beyond. We’ve discovered new medicines, saved rain forests, created new ways to harness energy. This list goes on and on too.

People working together we can do amazing things. Perhaps we can even offer hope to the powerless. No doubt, there are a million ways to do this.

Choosing just one can make a difference.

We all can make a difference.

We don’t have to cure everything in the world. But, imagine if one million people did one thing to help restore power.

That too would be mind blowing.