Monday, October 11, 2010

What A Legacy

Sitting between my sister closest in age to me and my husband I listened as God's word was read and folks stood up to share their special memories of my uncle.  Tears of sadness and tears of laughter were intermingling down my cheek while a chorus of sniffles could be heard throughout the church.
In beginning the eulogy he was about to deliver, my cousin told us how he had run an off-color joke by his wife asking if he should say it in honor of our uncle at the service.  His wife wisely advised him, 'not at church'.  He then said he'd be happy to share it at the collation.  Uncle Kenny would have loved that!
He then went on to the standard, "What can I say about.."  But then what he shared next was anything but ordinary.  For you see, my uncle was not an 'ordinary' man.  As my cousin said many times, he was 'larger than life'.
The heart of his message was about the kind of legacy this 'larger than life' character had left to us.  He was not a man who strove for wealth or status.  He didn't care to brag or try to impress others with what he had, what he had done, where he had gone and so forth.  He didn't spend his time trying to accumulate material possessions.
No, that was not him.  He was about people.  He befriended folks.  He was the first to help anyone who needed a hand.  He loved deeply; especially his wife of 54 years.  And boy oh boy, he loved to make folks laugh!!  His gift of humor was so much the more enjoyable because he was not one who needed to be mean to be funny.
What a legacy, huh?  He gave wonderful examples of each of these points that caused a wave of nodding heads in the pews as everyone was able to insert their own personal stories in their minds to attest to Kenny's legacy.
We were then all challenged to think about what kind of legacy we are currently striving toward verses maybe what we would like to leave.  Since my oldest son was 9 months old I have been a stay-at-home-mom.  I have loved this life and wouldn't change it for anything! What a blessing!!  But the truth is that there have been times, and times now when I've wondered if I had made the right choice.  As bills get tighter and the 'bare bones' gets even more bare I think, "Shouldn't I just send the kids to daycare and earn some money so we can get new cars and go to Disney and buy the kids more toys and..." (Please do not misread this to think I am putting anyone down who has their kids in daycare.  Every situation is different and what is right for one is not for another.  This is solely my life experience and our situation, no judgement.)
But then I think about what we have been able to do because of this choice we made.  I was able to visit with my mother regularly, especially once she was diagnosed with cancer.  If I had had to worry about work, I wouldn't have been able to spend that time with her.  I wouldn't have been there to share every moment with my boys like first steps, first words, school assemblies and help my son who was non-verbal until 3.  I wouldn't have been able to study God's word so that I could be the coordinator of Women's Ministry at our church and lead Bible study and prepare for talks with the women.  These are but a few of the things that I was blessed to experience by choosing a life far more valuable than money and possessions.
I pray that as life changes and God takes me down new roads that I will always choose as my uncle did to invest my life in people and not 'things', status or bragging.  I hope I always remember to share a laugh, even at my own expense regularly with others.  My hope is that my legacy will be one of caring, loving, hopefully giving a laugh to folks and pray that I'll be a light of the love of Christ and His faithful servant.
Listening to the eulogy, I couldn't (and still can't) help but think his legacy is a pretty gosh darn good one!  I love you Uncle Kenny, thank you!

Now I'll pose the question to you.

What kind of legacy do you wish to leave?