LEGACY 19: The Luxury of Being Able to Choose Legacy

I am thankful for the luxury of having time to prepare a legacy, to have the choice, to think about and mull over and meditate on what I’ve done, what I wish I had done, and how I want to be remembered. Not everyone is given that.

I think of the 19-year-old young lady who slipped and plunged several hundred feet over Whitewater Falls just a little over a week ago. She was the 2017 beauty queen of the adjacent county, a dance aficionado who loved teaching young children, and looking forward to going to Clemson from the local technical college. Full of life and joy and vibrancy—and suddenly gone. No chance to look back, to think over what she wanted to leave as a legacy. She did leave one, but sadly through no choice of her own, did not get to leave a greater one.

It’s above my pay grade to know why. God in his infinite wisdom knows why she’s gone and we’re here, still trudging along and thinking about the trudging. But you are, for now, and I am, and I’m glad.

The older I get (approaching 66) the more I feel that life is designed to prepare us for the afterlife. The aches and pains and burdens and sorrows accumulate, and it’s easier to want to leave, to find that better place, to not have those any more. I think of the counsel of Ecclesiastes 12, where beautiful metaphors are used to compare aging to natural phenomena—dimming eyesight like shades pulled down on windows or rain clouds darkening your sky, hair turning white like an almond tree in bloom, “apple-blossom white,” (MESSAGE), teeth as servants stopping grinding, legs like guards trembling, “you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper” (NLT) [I went to bed last night at 7:30, and woke at 2:30 with the idea for this blogpost incipient, and so it’s not even 3:00 a.m. yet!]—see creatively paraphrased versions like Eugene Peterson’s THE MESSAGE or New Living Translation, or ones where it’s spelled out clearly like the Amplified Version.

The point of the comparison, the counsel, is to remember your Creator before it’s too late. When is it too late? Definitely when we’re dead and gone. And Solomon (supposing he is the writer) sees the danger of not having the faculties in old age to remember (e.g., Alzheimer’s or other diseases debilitating to the memory) and of having great regret for all the missed opportunities.

But my pastor, who’s 79, sees this as a time of great opportunity, of being able to look back and look forward and prepare. A time to grow closer to the Lord, to allow him to purge the past of pain by becoming more Present. I like that thought. And I’m learning to luxuriate in it. That is, for me, creating an eternal legacy.

And if I can encourage one other to do the same, I’m on it.

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