I found out a couple of weeks ago that a friend of mine from college passed away. He was just two years older than I am. Two years. That's it. I'm sure that morning he didn't expect that he would be meeting the Lord face to face in a few short hours. When I saw his name in the obituaries, memories flooded back from my college days. Days my classmates and I thought would last forever. Days that end...sometimes much sooner than expected.
I have recently been asked to speak at my church's, ladies luncheon. I had been considering what to speak about. So many thoughts swirled around in my head...a million different ideas. After hearing about my friend, I started to think about my time here on earth.....and really, not just my time. OUR time. Each of us has a set amount of days. Only God knows how many there are for each of us. It got me to thinking about what my legacy will be? How will I be remembered? I've thought about this before and I think I might have blogged about it at sometime in the past. It's a hard question. To be honest, I don't think most people really want to think about it. It's deeply personal, but also a little scary. "What will YOUR legacy be?"
I'm sitting here in my home library/office. My desk and walls are filled with pictures. I love pictures. I have pictures of my son at age two. Again at age six. Pictures of my teens dressed in their Sunday clothes with smiles on their faces. The kids at a competition. My husband and I at our wedding. My grandmother when she was in her twenties. Pictures that have meaning to me. Memories. Pieces of my life, past and present, quilted together. While gazing at my pictures, it occurred to me that one day my kids will be looking at pictures of me. I will be gone. No longer here. What will they remember about me? Of course, after everything has been sifted through I like to believe that when they think about me they will have good memories. Not perfect memories...because, I'll be honest...I'm not perfect. I am so far from perfect that it's not even a dot in the rear view mirror of life. So, memories of perfection are not what my legacy is going to be about. Ever.
I believe it is our imperfections that give life meaning. You might be thinking, "Why does she want to talk about imperfections? What good is that? Does she really want to be remembered for those???" Yes....well, at least some of them. When I sometimes get impatient with my own children, and yell at them in frustration...it humbles me. It is because of that, I am able to have empathy with another mom who is going through a trial with her own children. When I struggle to keep my opinion to myself about something my spouse did (or didn't do)...and sometimes fail...it humbles me. It allows me to go to him later and say, "I'm sorry". When I stomp my foot and shake my fist at the unfairness of life and then realize I'm not God...it humbles me. Then I can go to Him in prayer, study His letter (the Bible) to me and understand that He still loves me, even when I make daily messes of things.
Ultimately, I want my legacy to be one of relationships. Did having known me change anyone's life? Did I make a mark on things? Did I tell others by my words and actions that Jesus Christ is central in my life? That it is HE that made all the difference? Without HIM I am nothing. That is the truth. I don't say that to denigrate myself, I say it because I'm being honest. All the good and lovely things that people could say about me after I'm gone, are nothing compared to the good and truly wonderful things that Christ did (and does) for me. For us. He is what makes my life enjoyable. My relationship with Him. Life is never easy for any of us. I'll tell you something, I've dealt with some sad things in my life. Even in the midst of my worst times, when I was ragged and worn out emotionally...He did not leave me. Or give up on me. I hope my legacy will be one, where I took the spotlight off myself and shone it on the One who deserves it the most.