As a girl I recall my dad pouring a cement sidewalk in front of our house. Afterward, while the cement was still wet, he carefully placed my hands and my brothers’ hands into the cement making ”permanent” imprint. Years later when revisiting that old home, I recall being pleased to see my hand imprint worn but still visible. It was verification that I’d once been there, a connection that still bore my mark.
Any national monuments, tourist attractions, even the wall of a bathroom door will underscore how much we human beings like to connect and ”leave our mark”.
Last May I turned fifty two which means I will soon have to check the next “age range” box when filling out forms. It also means I have to keep a tweezers on me at all times to yank out the confused eyebrows I find growing on my chin. Now a younger woman calling me “honey” seems disrepectful, being referred to as “ma’am” fits just right, and a “sshh” from me can silence a group of rowdy teens at a movie. Growing older is an interesting bag of mixed blessings.
Perhaps the greatest blessing is the increased awareness that life passses quickly and recently, I’ve found myself asking “What legacy will I leave this world?”
Most death’s aren’t covered by national news. Instead, most of us slip away quietly, forever changing our own little circle of family and friends. Each of us leaves behind a legacy.
As a nurse I’ve had the sacred experience of watching a patients die. In their final moments, not one of those patients wished they’d spent more time at the office, not one wished they’d driven a fancier car, or wished they’d owned a nicer home during their life on earth. Not one.
Instead, most patients wanted a connection with the people they’d loved, or should have better loved. Years ago I read that while dying people most commonly say either one or a combination of these “I love you. Do you love me? I forgive you. Do you forgive me?”
As we walk through life we leave our footprint or our legacy. What will your legacy be?
Our interactions with others can feel mundane, challenging, or positively wonderful. Each interplay gives us an opportunity to affect the life of another and make a connection. ”Treat every encounter with another human being as a sacred encounter” is a positive guideline that will create the best outcome.
“Leave the world a better place than you found it” refers not only to our interaction with people but also our partnership with our environment. Taking time to recycle, turn off lights, walk instead of ride, all benefits our world.
Today is a new beginning filled with twenty four hours of opportunity to imprint a bit of you into the world. What’s your legacy?