Legacy

Legacy by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo from Clipart.com

Do you like cemeteries? … It was Memorial Day and I was visiting a small family cemetery in a very rural part of West Virginia. Yes, most of West Virginia is rural but this was REALLY rural. Country with a capital C.

I’ve never been a big fan of cemeteries or funerals. But on this day, I began to change my mind. I began to think about cemeteries differently. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s perspective. Maybe it’s the espresso I had that morning. Regardless, I started thinking about more than just the deceased family member and how I missed them.

I began thinking about the impact they had on me. If they were a family member (like a great grandparent), then they were, in large part, responsible for my being alive. Their decisions and actions decades or centuries ago had an impact on me to this day – through the generations. For example, at some point in the 1800s, my family came to the U.S. from Germany, Scotland, and Ireland. This impacted me over 100 years later.

But it’s more than just our ancestors. It’s friends, mentors, authors, key figures in history, etc. who have made a big impact on my life. It’s hard to over-estimate. They have laid a foundation upon which I stand and live. They have a legacy. … So do we (you and I).

We have a right, an obligation, to honor the past. To build upon the foundation laid by others. To use our gifts, talents, and abilities to improve ourselves, our families, our organizations, our communities. Our world.

You did not get where you are without the hard work, dedication and influence of MANY others. Are you thankful? Do you recognize the impact others have made in your life? Do your actions, words, and decisions honor this?

I enjoy Air Conditioning, Books, Clean Water, and thousands of other “things” because of others and their work. Some of the people who influence me today lived thousands of years ago. Some live today. … This begs a couple questions: Who am I influencing today? And who will be influenced by me thousands of years from now?

You and I have an obligation to honor the past, build upon a solid foundation, and improve our world because of what we’ve been given. Because of what others have done for us. It’s scary and exciting to think that our actions today impact not only those in our immediate sphere of influence but those whom we will never meet.

Who has gone before you? What impact have they made in your life? How will YOU build upon their foundation and honor the gift of their positive influence.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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