I Blog For Books

20 January 2009

What You Leave Behind

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." This quote is attributed to the Greek philosopher Pericles. It made me think of my upbringing, and parenting my own children. What will I leave behind? (written 3 Dec 07)

When I started thinking about what today's devotion would be, a poem entitled "The Dash" came to mind. I searched for further information because I was not familiar with the entire writing, only the last few lines. I didn't even know who the author was! I can now tell you that the author of this much read poem is Linda Ellis, and that the poem was written in 1996. The 239 words that Linda Ellis penned on her lunch break more than 10 years ago make a strong statement and encourage each of us to reflect on the life we live, and the legacy we will leave behind. The last four lines ask a question that begs answering. What will you say? So when your eulogy is being read, with your life's actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say, about how you spent your dash?

1964 - God alone knows. Of course, I'm still here. God has not yet informed me (nor do I expect Him to) when I will no longer be on earth. This simple statement is engraved on almost every headstone (tombstone, marker) I have ever seen. Do you ever wonder about the lives of those who went on before? An example that comes to mind is my daddy. I have not been to Grove Hill since the funeral, so I have not yet seen his headstone. I do know his dates of birth and dates of death: June 23, 1940 - June 2, 2007. What does that little "dash" between the numbers signify? It signifies his life. I'm not using this as a descriptive of my daddy's life, but between those numbers were almost 67 years. During those years, Daddy was born, raised in Ohio with 8 siblings, joined the Army, married, and fathered three children. There was a lot of living packed in his years, but one of the accomplishments he was most proud of were his three children. His legacy lives on through Paul, Cheryl, and I, and through the eight grandchildren we gave him. The great-granddaughter he only saw in pictures is the beginning of yet another generation that will be touched by his life.

What are you going to leave behind? Reflecting, I realize what I want to leave behind: I want to make sure that I leave a legacy of love, trust, and faith. It isn't about what you have, it's what you do with what you have. That type of legacy cannot be bought or sold. I love my family and friends very much, and I want them to always know that - but why wait until I am gone? I take every opportunity to tell them how I feel and to let them know what they mean to me. My world was a sad place when daddy died, but it is also a happy place because I know without doubt that he loved me.

The blessing that I am thankful for most of all is God. When I accepted Him so many years ago, I never realized just how much of an impact that would have on my life. It is only through reinviting Him into my life that I have come to know just how much the shelter of His love has protected me throughout my lifetime. I hope that I leave behind a legacy of faith as powerful as the one my grandparents left, as powerful as the one daddy left - one powerful enough to sustain my children, my grandchild, and the grandchildren that follow.

Jesus, I thank you for the blessings that I have been given. I thank you for loving me enough to give your life for me, and I thank you for guiding me on the path that you would have me take. Help me to be a light for you, and to live each day praising you.

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God."~Romans 4:20 NIV

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