Things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone. The things you do for others remains as your legacy."Bishop H. David Burton"
I saw this quote today and it got me thinking about the things we do in our lives...we go about our day to day activities, sometimes, (most of the time) on a dead run to achieve every thing we want to do for the day. I remember trying a "to do" list, a family calendar, a Franklin Day Planner and many other assorted schedual helpers. Usually, it was just all in my head or on floating pieces of paper. It doesn't take much for me to look back a few years and remember the loads of laundry to be done, the meals to cook, the yard work that needed to be done, the children taxied to a variety of activities, school and music lessons to be done and of course church callings that always took a chunk of time. Today most have tiny little computers in our hands, but my brain couldn't handle that even if I had one. I still resort to my head and my heart.
Hearing this quote made me think of all the little every day things that we do in our lives...."Have I done anything good in the world today?" I'm convinced that when we live a Christ centered life, we are also building a lasting legacy for our children and grand children. All those busy days of running around, all the days that Jim just got out of bed and put two feet on the ground and trudged to work, they just seemed like life to us then, but now looking back on it, I see it wasn't all just busy, busy, busy... we were serving our family, our friends, our ward...we were building a legacy!
The great thing about being on a mission is, yes, we have a schedual to keep, but I feel like it's a quiet, peaceful time in our life to concentrate on being lead and guided by the spirit. Being retired could find us in many different places. Maybe not serving our families quite as much as we did when they were little, being "put out to pasture" as my sister lamented about church callings to the elderly, having more "Me" time than we know what to do with. I think of all the seniors in the Casinos in Las Vegas, sitting for hours feeding the machines. What a force for good they could be if they directed their time towards building a legacy instead of looking for momentary pleasures.
I have been blessed to have so many wonderful examples of legacy building people in my life. I've tried to think of just one or two to write about here today but find it impossible to narrow it down to just a few.
At the top of my list was my mother, unselfish, kind, loving, grateful, gracious, giving. Anyone that knew my mother knows exactly what I'm talking about. Next on the list would have to be my Sister Pat, an angel here on the earth, walking among us. Raising grandchildren, unselfishly putting off any rest from parenting for not just a few years but a few decades! What a legacy she is building. I see some of my friends and another one of my other sisters that have built their legacy by pushing a wheelchair, feeding an elderly parent with tender care or clothing and combing hair with a giggle and a smile. I see the pain when they say good-bye for a season to that loved one that they served for so many years. I have a nephew who makes me laugh every time I see him. He's big! And I will never forget him saying, "When I'm in charge of the world, I will make sure nothing is hanging down from the ceiling".. That being said just after he knocked his head on a hanging kitchen light. He could have been cross, even said something really awful, but no, Mike made me laugh instead! His legacy to me will be laughter. And so my list could go on and on, legacies of love, sevice, obedience and devotion to our Savior have been my examples for years.
It has been with great pride and pleasure that I have seen my children in our absence, loving and serving each other. They haven't skipped a beat. They continue to have birthday celebrations, holiday dinners, and surround each other when times are hard. They are building wonderful memories for our grandchildren and a legacy of their own.
As we pray each morning to be lead, guided and protected by The Spirit, It's my hope that my legacy will be one of service to Our Heavenly Father. What a gift it is to us to be able to be here in Croatia and Bosnia. To have the oportunity to serve as missionaries to the wonderful people in this part of the world is an extrodinary blessing. We do not take it lightly. Never to be taken for granted, it is a gift and one that we will always cherish.