Monday, April 1, 2013

What Will Be Your Legacy?

I suppose it happens to all of us sooner or later.  It might come along at different times for each person but there comes that time when you realize you're "middle-aged" or the "big 5-0" is approaching, or the gray hairs seem to be sprouting faster and faster all the time and suddenly more often than ever before you start thinking about what's coming and how you'll spend those "golden years".

Even though some days I feel 100 years old, I know I'm still a good distance away from those golden years myself, but it really hit me hard a few days ago while reading a former school-mate's mother's obituary in my hometown paper.  I recall my mom telling me once many years ago that the older you get, the more familiar names you see in the obituaries.  As it turns out, she was correct.  As I read through the list of names I saw so many I recognized that it stunned me.  Most of them were parents of people I knew from school but then I saw one that was someone my own age.  Someone I knew about thirty years ago who, from last contact, had a pretty rocky life.  Twice married, twice divorced, found his own mother after a sudden heart attack claimed her in her 40's and then a year later found his own father who from all accounts simply died of a broken heart himself. He was in and out of the drug scene, sometimes gainfully employed and other times collecting public assistance.  The obituary didn't say much, except to say he left behind a companion, a daughter, a grand daughter and two brothers.  I clicked through to the online memorial page and sadly, saw that no one had left any comments.

I just sat at my desk and stared at the blank comment box, and cried for him.  Now I realize his life might have been much fuller than a simple obituary might  indicate but the whole thing just looked so bleak.  Like a life lived, then gone, with very little to remember it by.  He was only 51.

I couldn't help but think "what will my own obituary look like?"  Now I sure hope it'll be another 40 years or more before anyone has to write it, but it's a legitimate question to ask of one's self.  Not necessarily what I did or where I traveled to, what my hobbies were or who I knew or anything like that, but what people who knew me remembered the most about me - what kind of legacy or lasting impression did I leave in people's minds?  What kind of human being was she?

I certainly know what I hope it says. I hope some day when someone's scrolling through the obituaries and sees my name they read it and I hope it makes some kind of reference to my love for the Lord, first and foremost.  I hope what people remember the most about me when I'm gone is that I'm not really gone, but that I've just gone on to be with our Lord and Savior for all eternity.  Of course I also want it to say I was married to the love of my life, adored my kids and grandkids, goofed off more than I should have, loved to make people laugh, etc.  I don't want the reader of my obit to stare at a blank screen and cry - I want them to read through, smile, know that I was a happy person... and see Jesus.  And understand that I was happy because of Jesus, and the hope, the peace, and the assurance I had.  I want them to see it, get it, and desire it for themselves if they don't already have it.

What will your legacy be?