Two weeks ago I wrote about a video made to honor Paul Lee, a student at Seattle Pacific University whose life was ended too soon in the shooting a year ago. The video mourned his loss, but it also celebrated his life and showed the impact he’d had on those he met in his few years of life. When I first watched the video, it inspired and challenged me. Paul’s legacy is one of joy and dance and celebration. That made me wonder what people will say about me when I’m gone? How have I affected those I’ve met? What legacy am I building? And so I shared the video, and the challenge with all of you. What legacy are we leaving?
One of the responses, from Andrew Budek-Schmeisser, got me thinking when he wrote:
“I’ve thought a lot about legacy in recent weeks, under the press of circumstance, and the truth is, I don’t know much more than when I first considered the question.
There’s no legacy I can deliberately leave, now, without it being forced or mannered, and the only things that are really out there are one novel and my blog…I can’t really read a lot of faith or meaning into life at the edge of the Mystery.”
He’s right, we can’t force a legacy. That would be like doing a good deed for someone, then pointing it out to them, saying, “Please take note of this wonderful thing I’ve done for you. It is my way of leaving a legacy.”
Nor can we, where we are now in life, know what our legacy will be after we’re gone. We can’t, as Andrew wrote, “read a lot of faith or meaning into life at the edge of the Mystery.” Or…
Can we? Can we have a sense, here and now, of the legacy we’re leaving? But why would we want to? Why even think about legacy? Isn’t that kind of egotistical?
No, not if you’re pondering it not to know you’ll be remembered, or to be assured someone will make a video about you or erect a monument to your life. I’ve been spurred to think about my own legacy not for me, but for the witness I leave for the only One who matters. For the Master Wordsmith, the Creator of all. I want my life, my words, my actions—my legacy–to draw people to him.
So how do we leave a legacy? I have my own thoughts on this, but before I share them, I wanted to see what you thought.
So tell me, friends, how do we, in the here and now, leave a legacy?