Plant a Life, Grow a Legacy
“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” ~Og Mandino
Spring is almost here. It becomes official next week at 11:15 AM CDT on March 20 when the vernal equinox arrives. Soon, we’ll see green shoots piercing through the soil and explode into bright colors. Last fall I buried papery brown lifeless-looking bulbs in the dirt knowing that a small miracle would take place months later. It is the legacy of creation. Every gardener knows what this small act of faith will produce.
Tonight, my heart is heavy thinking about the recent death of two women who leave a tremendous legacy. Over time, what they planted with their every choice and action will bloom brightly and ripple forth into generations to come. We reap what we sow not only in our lifetime but in the lives of everyone we touch.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”~ Shannon L. Alder
What’ll they say about you when you’re gone?
Everyone should be lucky enough to have a good send-off when they die. I’ve noticed elderly people often become “funeral connoisseurs”, having attended so many. They analyze and discuss the subtle nuances of each occasion. A meaningful funeral might actually be one of the best indicators of a life well lived. Wakes are even more telling. What will be said at yours? Will people hurry forward to grab the microphone and share a heartfelt memory about the way your life touched theirs? Or will there be a nervous silence and the sound of uncomfortable shifting in the pews?
On the day of our funeral, all the innumerable tiny decisions we ever made, all the endless activities we were involved with and every one of the incalculable number of words we ever uttered will be frozen in time. Forever. There will no longer be a handy “undo” icon we can click. By then, it will be too late to change a single word or minute of anything. The clock has run out, game over. No chance left for a winning shot or a “Hail Mary” pass to change the outcome. The buzzer has sounded.
You can choose how you’ll be remembered
How will you play your game? The choice is yours. It begins the minute you realize you’ve got the power to influence the direction of your future. Think about what you’re doing today and take a close look at your decisions, your actions. Stop and listen to the words you speak. If the final buzzer sounded on your life right now, would you wish for a replay, a time out or a substitution? The game of life isn’t played like that. We all know the clock can only move in one direction, forward.
American author Annie Dillard said it so wisely, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” That’s exactly how our legacy is created as well, drop by drop. What we do with the hours, days, months and years of our ordinary existence fills the vessel that carries our life and our legacy.
“A jug fills drop by drop”~Buddha
Listen and learn
As I listen to all who share their stories and realized the impact these women made on so many lives, I see a process that spanned a lifetime, acted out day by day, one drop at a time. The most important thing to keep in mind as we navigate through the seemingly endless choices we make every day is that a legacy is not simply what we leave behind, but instead something we bring forth one day at a time. The most exciting thing is we can begin shaping our legacy starting this very instant and we can spend the rest of our life making it a great one!
Who do you think of when you hear the phrase “a legacy of greatness?” What do you hope people will say about you after you have left this life? You can begin painting that picture this very day! And you alone have the power to re-script your future. What will you choose?
Need a program to kick off a spring event? I’d love to speak to your group about making a fresh start and seeing life with new eyes! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you Thursday! Inching closer and closer to spring!