Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Legacy

A few days ago I attended the funeral of my father's oldest brother, who recently passed away at 94 years old.  I grew up seeing him every summer.  We would stay a couple of nights at his house when we took our Big Trip to Utah.  After I moved back to Utah, I saw him frequently at family reunions.  But in recent years I have not been able to attend many family reunions, so I had not seen him for several years.

I was so grateful to be able to attend the funeral.  There was a beautiful, peaceful spirit of love there, and something else that I can't quite put into words.  The closest I can come is to say that it felt like heaven was rejoicing over a life well-lived.

As I reflected on my uncle's life and the legacy he left, I really saw for the first time the impact he had on my life.  He was a great man with many great accomplishments which have been an inspiration to me, such as his military service in World War Two.  However, the most important thing about his life was his example of faith and devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was one who obeyed with exactness, who walked uprightly before the Lord.

When I was a child, he and his wife were so loving and kind to me.  They had nine children of their own and I was one of nearly three dozen nephews and nieces, but they cared about me personally.  My sweet aunt, who passed away a couple of years ago, was always just bubbling over with love and hugs and smiles.  My uncle was much more reserved, with somewhat of a solemn countenance, and yet he would always take the time to have a little one on one chat with me whenever we visited.

As I watched his casket being carried to the grave site, I thought about how rare men of such integrity and honor are becoming in this world.  I felt a fierce desire to do my best to raise my children to be honest and upright and valiant, to continue on the legacy of my family, which was so well-represented by my uncle and is also represented by my father and others.  I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of such a family, and also that it was a great responsibility to be a part of such a family.

It made me think of a little video clip I saw in college from the Covey organization about leaving a legacy.  When I saw the clip, I had such a profound yearning inside to make my life count.  But it was hard for me, at age twenty, to really understand how I was going to do that and implement a plan.  I have never forgotten that clip because I have been thinking about it for the last fifteen years, trying to piece together exactly what is my mission here on earth and how I am to accomplish it.  Some things are obvious: I have always felt that the most important things I would do here on earth were to be a disciple of Christ and a mother.  But I have been unsure of the details, and I think and ponder and pray about it a lot.  I am pretty sure I am still unaware of some of the major missions my life will hold, but perhaps that is a topic for another post.

So as I'm writing this I decided to look up that video clip on YouTube, and there it was!  I highly recommend you go take two and a half minutes and watch it.

At my uncle's funeral I realized that I have been given so many good examples in my family of how to live, love, learn, and leave a legacy.  I am blown away by how blessed I am in regards to my heritage, and the older I get the less I take that for granted.  All I really need to do is take the baton and move it forward.  But that is the scariest thing, because when I think about trying to pass on to my children what has been passed to me it's a little overwhelming.

I am committed to doing my absolute best.  I know it won't be good enough.  I know I am not good enough by myself-- boy, do I know that!  I pray for heaven's help to fill in the cracks with my kids so that they will at least turn out to be decent human beings and hopefully appreciate and try to pass on the legacy of love and faith and integrity and hard work and personal strength that will help them to become all they can be in this life.  I worry constantly that I am going to fail at this.  And I might.  But not because I didn't give it my all.

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