Friday, February 12, 2010

What is Your Legacy?

Have you ever tried to imagine what life will be like in forty or fifty years?? That should the Good Lord allow you be alive that many years hence, what your circumstances will be?? If you are married, you and your spouse will have been together nearly a half-century. If you have children, they will be grown with spouses and children of their own, and perhaps grandchildren too. There will be years of illness, years of prosperity (we all hope), years of loss, of gain, years of closeness, and years of distance. What might it be like to look back on the period of life you are now in?? Perhaps with little children at home, or teenagers. Or maybe you are simply married, and still just together--the two of you.
We like to look back at our ancestors(at least I do), and look at their courage over the course of their lives. Many of our ancestors endured great hardship. Most of them lived through wars, famine, financial depressions worse than most of us have ever known. Many husbands and wives saw the death of their own children--more than most of us do today.
Do you think that when they were enduring through those difficult times they thought they were doing anything special?? That for a scared wife to follow her husband into the wilderness to build a home, raise a family, and carve an existence out of nothing--do you think she felt courageous?? I would imagine not. Many of our ancestors probably felt a lot of the same things we do--fear, discouragement, isolation, perhaps even bitterness and anger--and probably a lot of exhaustion. Yet many of them persevered, had their families, watched many of their children grow up, and became grandparents, and great-grandparents.
When times of uncertainty come(and they will!) I wonder if it would help to realize that one hundred years from now when our great-great grandchildren are looking at pictures of Great Granny Laura, and remembering what she was like, what will be important to them is that Granny stuck it out. That Granny made do, that she believed in the Great God who is the giver and taker of life, that she went with the flow and persevered through good times and hard times, that she wasn't a pouter when things didn't go her way. That Granny could laugh--at life, at herself, and not take things too seriously. That Granny worked hard--caring for those in her shelter. All the things that now my natural self struggles to do--or do happily. All the things that I admire in the people that came before me. Yet somehow I imagine it was easier for them and harder for me. Easier for them to be brave, patient, long-suffering, hard-working, content with their circumstance, whether high or low.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous Frenchman who wrote extensively about his perception of America back in the early 1800s(I think), wrote about how well American women adapted through the course of their lives. That due to the newness of this country, and all it's ups and downs a woman never knew how long she may be in prosperity. But he observed that so many women seemed to go with the flow. When things were proesperous, she lived well, when things became tight or desperate, she simply adjusted habits, and made do, waiting for the swing back into prosperity--no whining, no complaining, just made do.
When I have a lifetime to look back on, I want to see in my own memories that I persevered. I want to see in me now the development of character that my children and grandchildren will look back on and say,"Gee nana--times must have been really hard--how did you do it??" And I want to be able to say, one day at a time, and by the grace of our Heavenly Father.
So the next time your life seems hard, or unfair, or uncertain, remember those future generations and decide what kind of legacy you will leave them. Will they remember you as a pillar of faith, and a bastion of strength, resourcefulness, and perseverence?? Or will you be remembered as the one who was "high strung", or "sensitive", and seemed to blow over with every wind that came your way?? The choice is ours.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely! But for those of us who were raised by anxious mothers & who want to learn a new pattern of thought & behavior--look to the Word!A friend gave me a copy of this article & it sums it up pretty well:


please be kind, folks:) Differences of opinion are fine, but let the love of Christ reign here...