Leave a positive legacy

Published 4:09 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The halting heartfelt words coming from the pastor’s mouth spoke of the life of the man being laid to rest. Flowers filled the church where friends and loved ones whispered in hushed tones of memories they cherished.

A pianist played softly while members of the old country church crooned hymns of the faith that had likely been penned centuries before. The sweet and simple service soon came to an end, and folks exited the church. Groups and individuals strolled to their vehicles, pausing briefly before returning to their busy lives.

My old friend and neighbor, Keith, doesn’t live here anymore. His children and grandchildren along with his wife will feel the sting of his parting for a long while. The day will come, as it does for all of us who say goodbye to the ones we love, when the heartache will be replaced with happy memories.

Just this past Thursday I realized that my own late husband had left this earth for his heavenly home 11 years ago. I’m not one to remember dates, but some days are imprinted on our hearts. After all the years I still feel the ache on the anniversary of his passing.

It is a wonderful blessing to have such poignant and beautiful memories that the departed live on in our hearts. Life is meant to be lived in the present, but we can experience joy in the here and now without forgetting the precious ones who were once part of our world.

The tender words of remembrance and compassion from the pulpit today cause me to check my own life. What do I want to be remembered for? What will my legacy be? In actuality, if I am remembered as a good mother, grandmother, wife, and friend then that will be a life well lived.

There are many things I still hope to accomplish. There are places I want to visit and things I want to do, but those things are all lagniappe. My greatest accomplishment is and always will be raising a beautiful family.

Sometimes I get caught up in thinking about the negatives in our world. What a waste of precious time! There will always be something we could get angry about or something to be discouraged about. It’s a conscious decision to remain positive and try to make every day count, and that’s a legacy worth striving for.

I guess there is nothing like a funeral to get us to see the transient nature of our days. We are all here today and gone tomorrow, and we will all leave a legacy. It’s up to each of us to decide what that legacy will be. And I am convinced that it is never too late to make a course correction. In fact, I think it’s imperative that we do so quite often, at least it is for me.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (NKJV Proverbs 13:22).

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.