Last week I lost my Nonnie – my last living grandparent. While we had been expecting it for sometime, her death was still quite sudden. And really, what death is not? I am grateful we were able to hop on a plane the next morning to be with family members on the east coast and celebrate the life well lived of a woman who loved God and loved others for the 90 years she was alive.
Her death has left me thinking a lot about legacy. When we leave this life, what will remain of us? The stories, the memories, our legacy lives on in those we loved and who loved us. We all leave a legacy.
My Nonnie left a legacy. As a family we recounted numerous stories and memories in the days following her death, and that is what we will remember her by. When the sound of her voice fades from our minds, the aroma of her clothing has dissipated, and her earthly possessions have been claimed, what we have left is her legacy.
Each Christmas we would gather at Nonnie’s house to celebrate – opening presents, having a meal together, spending time as an extended family. With four small grandchildren, Christmas Tree time (opening presents) were definitely the crowd-pleaser and the most anticipated event of the day. If there was any doubt that the presents had yet to be opened, us grandchildren would eagerly remind our parents of what was to come. When the right time came, Nonnie was call us grandchildren over in her slow southern drawl to gather around her by the tree. We would sit at her feet and she would open her big keepsake Bible to Luke 2. She would read the Christmas Story to her captive audience, using her treasured nativity set from a trip to the Vatican many years earlier to depict the story.
Despite the hustle and bustle of Christmas day and the eagerness of four little ones to rip open the Christmas presents, Nonnie wanted to make sure that day pointed to Christ. She ensured that her legacy, her faith lived out among her offspring, was evident in all that she did.
There’s a song by Nicole Nordeman called I Want to Leave a Legacy, and the chorus says: “I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?”
We will all leave a legacy someday. We would all like to think we have at least 40 or 50 more years to cultivate that legacy, but the reality is we might not. The things we do today may be what we are remembered by for eternity.
What do you want your legacy to be? Is what you are doing today impacting the legacy you hope to leave?