Have you ever walked along a beach or a riverbank, and seen footprints of other animals that have passed by before you?
You might have had a similar experience in an urban environment seeing the “footprints” of someone’s littering, or advertisements attached to a string of utility poles.
No matter how inconsequential you might feel your life is in the larger scheme of things, and no matter who you are and how simply you lead your life, your footsteps will linger on after you’ve gone.
When Inessa (my webmaster and good friend) passed away recently, many of your wrote expressing your feelings of loss. At first I was surprised by the depth of emotion expressed. After receiving numerous emails her legacy became much clearer and more obvious to me.
One person wrote, “I contacted Inessa because I had trouble subscribing to your newsletter, and after a few aborted efforts Inessa wound up calling me and helping me redo the way I used my browser. I can’t tell you how touched I was by this. It was so obvious her kindness came from her heart, and that she wasn’t simply performing some obligatory form of customer service.”
Another person wrote saying, “I have struggled a good deal lately, and I’ve had to move three times in the course of a year. Each time I needed to re-subscribe to your newsletter, and each time Inessa was there to help me. On the third occasion, she wrote saying she hoped I was doing OK with all the moving I was doing. The next thing you know the two of us were writing back and forth, with me telling her about my various problems, and Inessa offering gentle advice. Her kindness was a wonderful gift for me in a time of great need, and I miss her dearly.”
There were many other emails as well. Each one warming my heart, and each one leading me to think about what my legacy would be when I pass away.
I invite you to think about two simple questions now.
How do you want to be remembered once you’ve passed away and people look back on your footsteps?
Are you already consciously working to make your legacy a reality?
If you haven’t begun yet, please don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll start once the mortgage is paid, or the kids have graduated from college.
“Ah”, you might say, “These are the words of an ‘older’ man”, and correct you are, for I’ll be sixty in less than two weeks time.
I’ll tell you one important lesson this “older” man has learned along the way. It’s never too early to begin to create your legacy, and it’s never too early to begin focusing on being of service to the many people your life touches.
Because what I see happen far too often is that people wait until it’s too late.
Sometimes this means their health and their memory fail them and they “forget” about leaving a legacy. In other instances people pass away much earlier than they expected, and the gift they had to give to life was never wrapped and presented.
Inessa’s legacy of compassion and caring lives on today. Although she died young, her life was full and her giving nature touched many.
I miss Inessa so much, and I feel blessed to have been her friend and colleague.
Please take a moment now, to think about what you want to give back to life.
And make today, the day you begin to establish your legacy!