I’ve been hearing the word legacy these days. Maybe I’m hearing it because four people have asked me (in some form), “What kind of legacy do you want to leave?” I assumed it was a gentle way to point out that I’m getting older. I’ve decided that it’s more.
This morning, I thought about my father, who was what we call a functional alcoholic and often beat me. Long after I forgave Dad, I focused on the positives he taught me—his ethical code.
His favorite saying was, “A man’s word is his bond.” As a child, I didn’t understand that the word bond meant duty or obligation. Even so, it was a lesson I absorbed.
Despite all his bad qualities, I can truthfully say that whatever Dad promised, he fulfilled. Now, decades after his death, I realize that’s part of the legacy he left me—instilling in me that a promise made meant a responsibility to keep.
On this topic of legacy, I’ve been working with a bodacious 94-year-old woman named Margie Jenkins, and she gave me a real insight on the topic. “The life you live,” she said, “is the legacy you leave.”
That’s not only meaningful to me, but it gives me deep peace. My legacy won’t be what I want it to be or hope it will be; my legacy will reflect the influence and lessons I taught others by my behavior.
I try to live a godly life and one that honors God. I have no idea how others view my life, but I’m not going to be concerned. If I’m faithful to God and to my values, that’s my contribution to my legacy.