Today is, of course, Columbus Day. A day to celebrate the fact that Christopher Columbus officially discovered America. I know, I know, fellow history buffs, how do you discover something that’s already there? Simple, you point it out to the rest of the world. For example, I can tell you that you can get killer Catfish and ridiculously delicious hush puppies at Willow Pond in Aurora, Kentucky – I didn’t discover the catfish restaurant, but I DID tell you about a restaurant you otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. Unless you’re familiar with Kentucky’s beautiful Land Between the Lakes, you might not even know about Aurora.
Columbus sort of re-tweeted what the Native Americans were doing and, since he had more followers, news spread like wildfire.
We were meant to give our lives away. Spend more time living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving it. – Lee J. Colan
At any rate, I didn’t set out to necessarily post about Christopher Columbus OR to give myself a wicked craving for hush puppies. I was simply thinking about legacies today. When I was on Twitter this morning – enjoying the afterglow of the Denver Bronco’s stellar win – I noticed that two of the “hot topics” this morning were Christopher Columbus and Michael Jackson. The two names made me think about legacies… for better or worse.
When we walk along a wet beach, we leave our footprints behind us. In the same way, we leave our legacies behind us when we leave this world. However, there’s no tide to come and take away these impressions. We earn our reputations and we earn our legacy.
When we think of others, we think of things they stand for and issues that are important to them. We think of things they like, things they love, and things they detest. In the span of a few minutes, we can conjure up a pretty good impression of them. Depending upon the individual, the following words may come into play:
Usually, the impression we have of someone acts as a mirror – reflecting the impressions they leave behind… like footprints in the sand.
Have you given much thought to the legacy your building? Do you realize that you form your legacy each and every single day? Overwhelming, I know!
The good news is this: If you fear that your legacy comes up short of your expectations – as long as you still have breath in your body, you can do something about it! The only time it’s too late is when the breath is gone. Be absolutely still for a minute – are you breathing? Excellent, your legacy is still a work in progress!!!
Here’s an illustration: I love baseball. However, a few sensational players have been “stained” by wrongdoings. Think of Pete Rose and Barry Bonds. Incredible players who loved the game and had (have) absolutely countless fans. I loved to watch Barry Bonds at bat! Each had his own particular “misstep” along their walk…. come on, as we all do. But the thing, in my opinion, that most people absolutely cannot accept is when an individual doesn’t own up to their mistake. When they try to shift blame, act dumb, or keep saying, “I refuse to answer that question…” – our give a dang exceeds its limits and we no longer even give half a dang.
Their “sins” end up owning them in the end and they seal their legacy. However, if they would, sincerely, acknowledge their wrongs and apologize to their fans – their legacy would include the word “gut” rather than “guilty” as a sincere apology all but erases the i, the l, and the y.
He that visits the sick in hopes of a legacy, but is never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him as being no better than a raven that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes. – Seneca
What does this mean for the rest of us? Plenty. If you suspect that your legacy would include the word “hothead,” lighten the heck up! If you aren’t sure that you’d be remembered for your generosity, become more generous (but don’t become the sort of giver that resents the giving or gives just to receive pats on the back… you’re missing the boat and the legacy will be just out of reach).
Explorers, athletes, and entertainers who are no longer with us leave behind a legacy that will never leave. So will I. And so will you. Begin, today, crafting one you’ll be proud of. Most importantly, remember the quote by Seneca (above) – don’t focus on leaving your legacy, focus on living your legacy.
Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day. – Billy Graham