Monday, April 21, 2008

Leaving a Legacy

"If we live for ourselves, when we are gone, we will leave behind stuff. If we live for others, when we are gone, we will leave a legacy."

This was part of a talk I heard a couple of weeks ago. These aren't the exact words, but the content is the same. I am currently unable to get a copy of the talk but hope to soon.

Yesterday an acquaintance of mine passed away. He is the father of a co-worker and his death was not expected. Times like these bring into focus a larger view of life. When I heard of his passing, I reflected on my association with him. I relived some of the conversations we had and recall with fondness, his genuine smile and the gleam in his eye.

I called my co-worker to share my heartfelt sympathy at her loss. Her crying accented the depth of love she had for her father and the shock at the untimely loss. Each memory dug deeper into her love and admiration for her father.

I started wondering about my parents. I wondered about my kids and wife. What about my friends? If I were to die today, I think I would be missed. But would I only leave a memory behind and a temporary void in the lives I lived in?

Each of my 6 children have been named after someone great. Grandmothers, spiritual giants, great-great-great-great grandparents, and other inspiring namesakes. Why did these individuals come to mind? As my wife and I thought about each name, it was those who are or who have left a legacy by the way they lived their life for others. Those who have passed on whose names we have used as inspiration for our kids, created wonderful legacies which inspire our family generations since.

So what should we do? Take this challenge. Take two pieces of paper and write on the top of one, "My Obituary", and on the second, "My Legacy 100 Years Later".

Now write out what you would like each of these two things to say. Now live your life to fulfill these desires. To create a legacy takes as much time as it does to not. So why not start creating your legacy today. There is an eternity waiting for your legacy. Don't disappoint the future.