My life is not justified—not fully at least. Not yet.
This debate comes on the heels of having seen a doctor, she advising a course of home treatment and requesting that I email her in two weeks to let her know how I felt. I did as she asked and we exchanged a half dozen emails about her pending move back to her hometown in lovely San Diego. The closing of these emails was me stating that come winter time, I’d be thinking of her with envy. She sent back the iconic smiley face.
Five weeks later, she was dead.
A mother of two boys around ten, recently divorced, she was setting off on an adventure. Building a new life for herself and her kids. She was looking forward to being around family again and re-establishing connections that distance inhibits.
Gone. In moments everything changed.
I ponder: God, why her and not me?
What is the plan that has me still awakening every day, delving into this and that and writing my thoughts? Why am I allowed to continue to sit here, looking out at the yard, waiting for spring to arrive, flowers to bloom, hummingbirds to dart back and forth between two feeders?
What is it that I am to contribute that enables me to be here?
This death and too many others jolt me to again think of what legacy I will leave when I split from earth.
I’m not going to Madam Curie some cure; immortalize The Wright Brothers or The Johnstown Flood like David McCullough; I’m not going to launch a million dollar industry.
Those things are not in me.
What I want to continue to do is be a good person.
I want to grow in my faith so that it defines me far more than my other personality traits.
I want to craft blogs and fiction with such clarity and purpose that people share it with friends for the sheer fun of it.
I want to travel and continue enlightening myself with the history of places and the present of them through the people who live there.
I want to breathe deeply of life every day so that God is justified in keeping me here a little bit longer and a little bit longer after that.
I want a lot, don’t I?We have the elderly in whose presence we simply want to sit and be. Click To Tweet
Having recently spent too short a time in the presence of an enticing 91 year old, I think that justifying our lives is often about who we are in the moment of interacting with others. We have all known Grumpy Old Men-people. The ones who carp about this, complain about that, growl on about another. Then we have the elderly in whose presence we simply want to sit and be. We want to have coffee, talk about life or baseball—doesn’t matter if you like the subject or not, we want to hear their point of view on it.
I came away from my encounter with sweet Lou thinking about what a great legacy he instills in everyone who crosses his path. He may or may not have done things deemed “great” by society. What I know is what he does in the presence of others—pulls them into his world with stories, quick wit, and an all encompassing smile—and that is huge indeed.
So with a nod to Madam Curie, I will continue to work on a legacy that is a simple one: be a better person in order that those who end up in my wake are not brutally jostled by it, but rather enjoying the ride.
What’s your legacy?