What is a legacy? A great question on this Mother’s Day.
We had our virtual lunch with some friends yesterday on our deck. So weird how we sat at opposite ends of the table with them bringing their own food, drink, and utensils. Yet, it was good for my soul after almost 9 weeks of self-isolation. The sweet catch up conversation took us to the question of what does leaving a legacy for others really look like? Can one actually leave a legacy? In a couple/three generations, will anyone remember anything about us? It makes you understand why some contribute financially or with their time so that their name goes up on a plaque or on a building. This thought process could lead to discouragement wondering does my life really matter?
I choose to see it differently and hope what I write here will help you do the same. My hope is my legacy will continue beyond those who actually knew me via the result of the ripple effect of how I served and made a positive impact on others. I think of the book, “The 5 people I meet in heaven” by Mitch Albom, where when Eddie dies he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him or who he influenced while he was alive. The point being our actions (positive or negative) can have a lasting and hopefully eternal impact on those around us. Psalms 145:4 – “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts._ Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Both taken a bit out of context but help make the point 🙂
My Mom, as well as my Dad, left their wonderful legacy not only with their 6 children but 9 grandchildren. Unfortunately, the now 8 great grand children and future generations will not have the joy of knowing their good and their bad; their strengths and their weaknesses. Those who knew them felt the joy of being loved and instructed by them. The Guthrie 6 and our spouses as parents or as aunts and uncles will continue to teach the lessons that Papa and The Bup taught us. It is a responsibility we take seriously and that brings us pleasure. That is what legacy looks like to me and for that I feel blessed and find myself thankful on this Mother’s Day.
Several years ago I read a book titled, One Word. It was written by my friends Dan Britton and Jimmy Page with help from well known author Jon Gordon. It is quite simple. It provides you a “how to” on how to boil the upcoming year into a One Word focus. You spend time thinking about where you are in your life and what One Word can help you become a better you in the coming year. If you have been a follower of my story here, you know 2019 was quite the year. If you are finding this blog for the first time, you can read previous posts here or go to https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie to find out about my year dealing with Guillain Barre Syndrome. The journey I embarked on 10 months ago was one I never expected when I made the decision to choose Prayer for my One Word focus in 2019. I chose prayer because of my desire to be more diligent in my own prayer life. I wanted to trust God more and felt through an enhanced prayer life, i would draw closer to Him as I watched how my prayers would be answered for me and for the others who i committed to pray for regularly. Instead, through my illness, I learned that I was the one who would need everyone else’s prayers. I can’t even number how may folks lifted Dottie and me up not just once but over and over again. The bible says, “Make your requests know to God and you will experience a peace unknown to man” . It also says, “the prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail” . I am grateful for the multiple of people who have consistently prayed for me and my family from Day one and throughout my continued recovery. There is no doubt that it has given me the power and strength to prevail. My renewed health is an answer to those prayers and for that I am thankful. This thankfulness leads me back to what my One Word will be for 2020. and that word is……..
Generosity! It is my turn to give back. I look back and am astounded by how many people stepped up to care for the Guthrie crew. I have written about this in previous posts. The list of these acts of kindness have continued and are much appreciated. This year I want to be intentional in my generosity. True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. By its very definition, I want to be a someone who “shows a readiness to give more of something (like money or time) than is expected” like so many have done for me. My One Word is Generosity but I want my focus each day to be a commitment to RISE UP! It reminds and exhorts me to be Resolved Intentional Striving for Extraordinary things with Unbelievable/Unique Purpose/Passion
There is so much hurt and struggle in our world. So much of it makes no sense at all so we become discouraged and cave in to the thought process that there is nothing we can do. My hope is you will join me in Rising Up with a desire to make a difference in your part of the world. If 2019 taught me nothing else, it taught me one’s generosity can make a positive impact as time and time again, it sure impacted mine. Happy New Year everyone!