Legacy Building

What stands behind when you are no longer here? At some point or another through the passage of time we will get an opportunity to consider what we leave behind.  Perhaps it is when you go to a funeral of a loved one or hear about a senseless killing on the news.  No matter how you might try to ignore it, one day you will have to face yourself and ask what has been the impact of your footsteps in the sand in your life and how will the footsteps continue or be honored once you are gone?

Over this weekend I attended a funeral for a cousin. A man who in life always brimmed with energy and a steady selflessness that you could sense before he even said a word.  In facing such a sad end to such a beautiful story I pondered this question as I have before in the shadow of death from other dear ones I have lost before.  In truth I believe clarity in this question comes while you are facing the sunset of your life but for me there is strand of vitality that has followed all I have loved into the great beyond.  Even the greatest of us may be washed away in the sands of time.  Names people once clamored around will become a distant memory for the world at one point.  And despite the natural order of immediate focus demanded by the present, the legacy that can matter most can still remained intertwined, brimming with the life force from which it was sent. Long after you leave this existence the core lessons of how you treat others remain.

Yes I have seen others pick up the path left by your footprints while yours seemingly wash away. For my grandmother I see the seeds of selfless kindness left in my vision of the world and it directs my path.  For my cousin I see in his children the consistent support of a gently but firm heart left in his children.  And one day I am sure I will see this same thread in his children’s children.  Even after the way we live our life loses all things personal to us, regardless of if your children’s children know just where the contribution came from, the way we treat people remains around as a foundation to those we love most.  And when we live lives fertile in this the best things about us can grow and blossom as its spread.  For those we leave behind it comforts us in our sadness that the long path of life that was walked was not in vain.  Without any fanfare or spotlight, the legacy remains even in something that seems as nameless to the person as kindness or joy or compassion.  A true legacy comes from inspiring others with some of your best habits while comforting them that you faced your worst, as they will have to, with determination and transparency.  The end of the sentence is often the best reminder of just how much the seeds you plant in your life matter, even when it is not destined for you to ever bear witness to the fruit.


In memory of my cousin

Michael Lynn Dotson