Today I was watching a documentary about Abe Lincoln. I’ve never really been a history buff because in grade school it was all about the memorization of dates. That was of little interest or use to me. But the one element that I did enjoy was the telling of stories. When I could hear the stories of the characters of history, instead of or in addition to the dates, I suddenly had a different opinion. Likely this is because I live my life in the service of connection with other people, not just in the facts and figures of their lives.
One element of Abe’s story that was told today was about his ongoing battle with depression. The interesting thing about it was that he rose to fame and glory almost in spite of the depression. He allowed himself to feel what he felt but still went on the quest of a meaningful life. He stated at one point to a friend that he did not want to die without being remembered for something important, and for him it was the Emancipation Proclamation. That was indeed something worthy of being remembered.
This post isn’t really about Abe though, but rather, it’s about legacy. I do believe that each of us has a legacy, or legacies, that we are called to leave behind. Some of them may be consciously created, like Lincoln’s, and others are simply alive in the memories of those we interact with but are not declared. As I look at those that I have lost in my family I can clearly see their legacies – joyful strength, strong work ethics, patience, love of family, and smiling faces.
As time creeps on and I get closer to retirement I have spent some time thinking of my own legacies. At work I’ve been blessed to hear from some people what they “remember” about me. One woman recently commented that I’m always smiling. That was one I wasn’t even conscious of but it delighted me to know. Several others have mentioned how they love the weekly inspirations I post on my board and how they deliberately walk by my office to see what I’ve shared. This pleases me so much because I want to consciously and deliberately touch the lives of others and inspire them to be their best selves. Still others have mentioned my passion for diversity and inclusion and they can see the mark I am leaving on the organization because of my work in this area. That is a good legacy and I’m motivated even more to continue with this. And as much as I never planned on it, I’ve been told that I am known for my skills and abilities in dealing with employee relations issues. As an HR professional, this is a very good skill and I’m glad to be known for it. I’m sure I have other legacies, some less noteworthy or positive, given that I’m a flawed human being. But for the most part, I am pleased that these are the things I’ll be remembered by.
From a personal standpoint I know that many people will remember me for my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God. Not just the book and it’s content, but also the story of how the book was written. That is a legacy that I am more than delighted to leave behind. And, with more time, I intend to add more books to the list. God willing!
As a daughter, sister, friend and mother I am much less sure what my legacies would be. I guess that is the story left untold for now. I know that both my good points and bad points show themselves more frequently to those I love. I hope the good outweigh the bad. I hope what I believe in and stand for overshadow that which I failed at or stumbled through.
Do you know your legacies? I’d love to hear who you’ve been in the world – it does inspire me and others to hear your story.
Share your legacies and be blessed!