Moving through life, clocking in days, years, and even decades, perspective begins to shift. I’ve noticed that there’s less anticipation of the new and unexplored, more “looking in the rear view”, reflecting on what’s gone before.
This morning I was going through my file cabinet – sorting and pitching – keeping what might be needed and letting go of the rest. It was all there. The deeds to houses bought and sold, insurance policies, lesson plans, educational records, travel notes, and medical records. As much as we claim to be moving towards a “paper-free” system, many trees have given their lives for my record keeping. But, it’s all there, neat (sort of) and organized.
And all those reams of words on paper are a window into what my life has been up till today.
I stop to consider this:
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in”….Greek Proverb
It’s natural I suppose to wonder what we might be remembered for when physical life ends. Or maybe it just feels natural for me because my Dad would say: “You’ve been given a lot, so a lot is expected from you.” My parents gave us a comfortable life. There was always enough – and then some. There was stability and support. As I grew up and my world got bigger, it was also pretty obvious that I had opportunities that others did not. I tried never to take this for granted.
Some folks leave an obvious legacy – works of art and music and literature, a scientific discovery or disease cure. Some have the means to leave their names on entire buildings and institutions. For most of us, it’s won’t be anything that dramatic. But dramatic and meaningful are not the same thing.
There’s a friend of mine who I describe as the “ideal” houseguest. We can talk for hours about nothing in particular. He chips in for food, and helps to prepare it. He doesn’t overstay. He leaves a…