Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Legacy We Leave Behind

Last week the older brother of a very good friend died. He was only four years older than my friend and me. At the monastery this past weekend we had a memorial service for another friend that recently died unexpectedly. Both of these deaths reminded me how precious life is and that it can end anytime. At the memorial service many kind and wonderful things were said and my friend's legacy was applauded. It got me wondering, "If I died unexpectedly right now, what would people say about me? What is my legacy? How would I be remembered"? Regardless of our individual ages and life styles, each day we are building our legacies. Although we are all misunderstood some of the time, we own our reputations and contribute to them by the way we live. We are responsible for the perceptions that others have of us. Everything we say, everything we do, how we love, how we live, who are friends are, how we spend our time, along with many other things, all contribute to our legacy. As one gets older, death seems to visit more frequently. It is not uncommon for an elderly person to say, "All I do is go to funerals". In our society it is a sad reality that too many funerals are for the young. Life is a precious gift. It should not be squandered or wasted. As I have said before in my thoughts, "Focus on what is really important. Let go of worry and needless concern. Travel light. Hold no grudges. Forgive everything. Love much. Harm no one. Smell the flowers. Feel the wind. Dance to the music". Someday we will all die. We do not know the time or place. Until that time, live well and live in a manner that inspires those around you. When we die, all those that love us, and maybe a few that don't, will gather and remember us. In my case, I hope the room is full of laughter and not too many tears. I hope my life was one that touched others in positive ways and that I am remembered with fondness. When people walk out of my funeral, I hope they are thinking, "His was a life lived well. The world and my life are better because of him". Then I hope they go have a party.

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