Wednesday, January 4, 2012
LEGACY: Resolve to make yours all it can be
Charles Hudgins asks us to revisit this updated blog, first published last year:
I think everyone wants to be remembered, to leave some mark that says "I was here" – whether as grand as the pyramids or as simple as my father carving his initials in a tree at the edge of newly cleared ground.
How much of graffiti, I sometimes wonder, is pure vandalism and how much the sad autograph of some misdirected (or undirected) youth for whom the availability of an after-school arts program would have made all the difference?
Life presents different opportunities to each of us for making our marks. Most of us will not have as our legacy a great discovery, an acclaimed work of art, architecture, or literature, or heroism above and beyond the call of duty – not Nobel Prizes, or Pulitzers, Oscars, Heisman trophies, or Medals of Honor. The call for us is to find what in our daily lives can be made worth remembering, what among our passions we would wish carried on as a memorial to our having been, what efforts and causes we would want supported for all time.
Some obvious opportunities for rich and enduring legacies are parenting, teaching, mentoring, and ministering to those less fortunate than ourselves. There is a quiz that travels the internet asking, first, that one name the three wealthiest people in the world, the last three Wimbledon champions, the last three Miss Americas, and other such notables, and then, in contrast, the names of three teachers who aided your journey through school, three friends who helped you through a difficult time, three people who have made you feel appreciated – poignantly showing whose legacy is really important to us as individuals.
The legacy within everyone's grasp is a good and thankful life, time well spent, paying back in the measure each can afford, large or small, the blessings he or she has received. To those who love, and are blessed by, the ministries of St. Paul's Cathedral comes the ready opportunity to make provision in our life plans for continuing support after we are gone – whether it be something worthy of a bronze plaque or as simple as helping to keep the lights on.
Those who pledge gifts to the Cathedral by will or other estate plans are enrolled in the Cathedral Legacy Society. The 2012 Prayer Service & Dinner for members of the Society with the Dean will be held Saturday, January 21, at 5:00 PM. Resolve now to be in that number.