“Long after we leave this earth, our stories live on in the hearts, and sometimes in the hands, of others,” Debbie Macomber writes in the final chapter of her book, Once Upon a Time: Discovering Our Forever After Story.
Reading the book and answering the chapter prompts forced me to dig deeply into my life, past and present, and, in this concluding assignment, the future.
“What kinds of stories will you leave behind?” she asks.
I wonder: How will my children and grandchildren remember me? What specific events will they recall?
One evening recently when my two sons were visiting, one of them brought out several photo albums I put together through the years. Around the dining room table we pored over them, reminiscing and laughing. Of course, the story about me they tell most frequently – and with great delight – is the time the youngest was rocking in his high chair and nearly rocked himself over. As the high chair tipped precariously, I gasped – and inhaled a noodle up my nose!
They also won’t let me forget “booger soup” (don’t ask) or the Halloween I inadvertently added what they say was a “dish” instead of a “dash” of salt to the chili – and made them eat it. (They weren’t allowed to go trick-or-treating unless they’d eaten supper.) It really wasn’t that bad – you know how kids like to exaggerate stories about their parents, right?
Then there was the time we were looking for a campsite near our friends in the thickly forested Loleta Campground in a downpour. We’d pulled out after Dean came home from work, so it was evening by the time we got there. Night falls fast in the forest, and even more so when it’s raining cats and dogs. I was hanging out the passenger window directing my husband out of a muddy tight spot when our friend approached us.
“Michele,” he said, “you look like a drowned rat!”
At the time I didn’t laugh. Now I do, though.
What kinds of stories will you leave behind? What will be your legacy?
My husband’s late employer, William G. “Gurn” Satterlee, left a legacy of kindness.
The owner of a rapidly growing oil company, he didn’t think anything of taking an evening to repair our broken fuel oil furnace, pro bono, of course. At the time, Dean was a relatively new employee. When Dean was hospitalized with a life-threatening blood infection, Gurn showed up at the hospital, chatting from the doorway because Dean was in quarantine. And then there was the time I saw him in a local restaurant where I met a friend for lunch. When we went to pay our bill, it had already been taken care of.
“Our story goes on long after we have crossed over,” Debbie writes. “We need to be intentional about leaving a trail for those who follow.”
More than anything, even more than her phenomenal success as a writer, Debbie wants to leave a legacy of faith: “I want the generations who follow to know that . . . I determined to faithfully serve my Lord.”
What about you? What kind of legacy will you leave?
May the legacy I leave point my loved ones to You, O Lord. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Acts 9:36–42