I think it's pretty typical, when you're at a funeral, to think about your own demise. And today, as I attended a funeral, I was doing just that. I was thinking about my own funeral when the pastor mentioned the word, "legacy". My thoughts then went to what legacies I might be leaving, how I might have influenced people, whose lives I might have touched. But before I could get very far with that line of thinking, my thoughts drifted to the legacies I had received.
The first legacies that came to mind were from my mother. From her I learned that cooking and entertaining can be fun and exciting. And then I thought about the stuffed mushroom caps that I used to love and can't duplicate. I learned that its not where you buy your clothes, but how you wear them that's important. And there was an unspoken message that expensive jewelry was not important, not to be expected, and not to be asked for. Her final legacy was an Edgar Cayce book, left on her dresser at the time of her death, which sent me on a spiritual journey that has continued ever since.
My father's legacy was his work ethic. It was never talked about. It was one of those silent legacies that you don't even know you're getting.
From my grandfather I learned that you never touch the principle.
From my grandmother I learned that beneath a subservient exterior can lie a very capable woman.
From Jim and Max I learned the art of intrepid traveling.
My mother-in-law's legacy was thriftiness. She would only put three inches of water in the tub to conserve water and keep down the expense of heating it.
And so, as I reflected on the legacies I had received, I realized that we are unaware when we pick them up, that some are said out loud and others are unspoken, that the degree to which a person is important to us affects what we take from them.
And then I realized that we have no idea when we're influencing someone else's life. We really don't know what legacies we are leaving behind. However, I do know this, and it's a quote from Oprah, "We never touch a person's life so lightly that we do not leave a trace."