Legacy. Webster’s defines legacy as, “something (as memories or knowledge) that comes from the past or a person of the past.” I have been thinking about what legacy I will leave for my children and others that I love. Perhaps others in my path will be impacted, too.
While we were in church this morning a fellow was giving the communion message and mentioned 12 step programs. My mind immediately wandered to my dad. He passed away seven months ago and left behind a true legacy through his work with the Celebrate Recovery Ministry at his church in Houston, Texas. http://gateway-community.org/event/597123-2014-05-26-celebrate-recovery/ He poured his heart and soul into folks recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. While speaking at his funeral, I looked into the seats and saw many faces I didn’t know. I live in New England and don’t get to Houston very often. I knew there would be unfamiliar faces, but I hadn’t realized there would be hundreds. I was moved to tears that day by the multitude of people who came to me and said how instrumental my dad was in their recovery journey. He was able to honestly tell his story and how he came to know Jesus. Dad was open about his struggle with addiction- how it hurt those he loved and how he had to make sincere efforts to repair those relationships. He also knew, deep in his heart, what it meant to receive God’s grace. He felt it. He lived it. Was he perfect? Nope. Did he admit that? Yes.
I have been thinking about my own life. My struggles are different from my dad’s struggles. I sometimes think I am pretty boring. My three children are watching me closely. Their keen little ears are tuned into my words. Their eyes are following my movements. My oldest son doesn’t know why in the world we would ever want to walk down this foster and adoption road. If we asked him about the legacy I am leaving behind right now, he might just tell you that his parents are completely nuts.
Our days can be hard here. The little girl is slowly molding into our family. Sometimes I step back and think about all she really has to learn to fit into the culture of this family. We have pizza night on Thursdays, the boys play Minecraft (almost obsessively), and we talk to our pets. She didn’t have routine – or the opportunity to enjoy games, pets, or too much pizza.
This silly home must be a bit like landing on an alien planet. The lifeforms here speak Minecraft lingo and get into heated discussion about politics. She is soaking it all in. Kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and PTSD are hypervigilant. Our little girl has supersonic hearing (my oldest said that is her superpower). She can smell things a mile away, too. She is also adept at interpreting a situation and figuring out how to disrupt and cause chaos as quickly as possible. We are learning, too, to recognize the little flicker in her eyes that signals oncoming wrath. We try to anticipate it and diffuse it as soon as possible. It is a journey.
Back to what I hope my legacy will be…I am hoping that my kids look upon their lives and say that their parents pointed them to Christ. I want them to have had a ton of fun, learned to think for themselves and have a passion to be of service to others. Todd and I hope they see those qualities in us each day.
Since losing my dad, my mind frequently wanders back in time. I have been a bit more sensitive to the small memories of my youth. I recall some really fabulous Chinese food, going crabbing at a local dock, and eating the boatload of crabs we caught right on my living floor. I am quite certain food is the thread that holds the fabric of my youth together. My family is big on eating. Eating out, eating interesting stuff, eating together. It is just what we do. It is still a big part of my family’s dynamic- so much so, that my brother owns a catering company. http://melangeevents.com/
My kids are growing up with their dad making yummy pulled pork, growing our own chickens and buying lobsters straight off of the boat in Maine near Acadia National Park. They have camped in the pouring rain, paddled the French Broad River in North Carolina and seen the Aquarium in Atlanta. Making memories together, sharing adventures and planning the next adventure brings us all closer together.
I will continue to reflect on, and make positive, purposeful steps toward, leaving the legacy that will weave my children, and future generations of my family, together. What will your legacy be?