Death and Taxes have been called the two certainties in life.
I would argue that legacy is another one of those certainties. We will be remembered after we are gone. And I would also argue that the absence of memory is still a legacy.
So here is the question- How will we be remembered after we are gone? What will our legacy be?
Those of you who have followed me over the past couple of years know how I feel about my Grandpa Bensink. He was an extremely humble man of God. He had a rock-solid simple faith. He had lost most of his hearing after factory and farm work for the majority of his life. He modeled his faith as he prayed for us before meals and when we went to sleep at his house. And as his weathered and worn Bible would come out at the end of meals so he made sure that we would hear the word of God at every possible opportunity. Grandpa simply loved Jesus. I want to love Jesus the way he did.
Grandpa’s Bible is part of his legacy.
It has been said that a Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. I love that thought. It was true of Grandpa.
This case of Sheaffer pencils represents one of the few things he collected. Like I said, he was a simple man. He was very content with a jar of peanuts and a new shirt or pants for Christmas. He didn’t want for much other than a strong faith and time with his family. I am thankful to have the pencil case. I remember him every time I see it.
What will our legacy be?
As I looked at the pencil case this week while I was working with a coaching client, I smiled as I thought of Grandpa. But it also hit me really hard. What will my legacy be? What will our legacy be?
The things I have worked so hard to collect. Will anyone care? The things I worked hard to own. Will anyone care? The box of triathlon and bike racing medals? Any lasting value?
I recently talked to an auctioneer and I asked him about the process of an auction or estate sale after someone has passed away or as they downsize to a smaller place. He said it is sad. The family watches and maybe even the individual watches as their possessions are sold.
For much less than they paid for them. For much less than what they thought them to be worth. The results of hard work and striving. For things that will wear out. And sell for pennies on the dollar if we are lucky.
What has lasting value?
So as I pondered Grandpa and I pondered that conversation, I thought about what I want to last after I am gone. My mind went to relationships. With my family. My friends. My team at work. My patients. My coaching clients. Those who have heard a talk I have given and want to talk further.
And time. Quality time. With those who matter. Experiencing life. Taking it all in. The true #WINtheNOW moments.
Lately I have been contemplating the things I have held as important in my life. And the crossroads becomes this- if those things won’t matter when I am gone, do I need to give them the high position that I have? Why have I worked so hard for them?
It’s not morbid. It’s true. We are all going to die. Our times of creating and building a legacy will be done. In the second half of my life, I hope to devote more time and energy to the things that will outlast me. And as i think about that, I will continue to think about Grandpa. How about you? What will last in your world?