(If you’ve been reading these entries for awhile, you’ll recognize legacy as a recuring idea. Today the same theme, but with a twist that might be helpful for your spirit in these times.)
Some days it’s hard to find or hold a positive perspective about what’s occurring in our world. Years ago I wrote a book about *finding hope. I was convinced back then—as I am now—that one source for hope might be the legacies we pass on.
Legacy hearkens back to the Latin, lex/legis, denoting laws. The etymology goes deeper, though: The letter of any law is based on its spirit—its intent. Laws also include the beneficial truths, values and virtues that undergird legal matters. What’s this mean for you and me? Beside our notable accomplishments, our legacies include positive qualities and attributes that we will bequeath to others over our lifetimes. Examples might include honesty, loyalty or civility. Humility, tenacity and generosity also come to mind. Maybe dependability, courage or humor?
One way I try to bolster my spirit is to visualize how the “laws” of my life might have influenced others. (Perhaps this could help you, too.) I make a map of the people who may have received some of the enduring truths, values or virtues that describe me. I surround each name with descriptive words that indicate the personal qualities these folks might have picked up from knowing me. I put the diagram somewhere that I will notice it regularly.
What becomes evident: A small assurance that what I’ve tried to do with my life will endure after I’m gone. If you try this simple task, I think you could come to the same conclusion: Your example will have accomplished something good that will last. You and I can both be glad that we’re not alone in sharing God’s mission. Even more: Perhaps someone coming after us will add to—or improve—the legacy they received from us.
We can remain positive and hopeful!
*The book was called It’s (NOT) Too Late: A Field Guide to Hope and I think it’s still available. If you’re interested and want to avoid Amazon’s grasp, go directly to the publisher, Rowman and Littlefield (It’s Not Too Late: A Field Guide to Hope – 9781566993975 (rowman.com)
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