What Kind of Legacy?

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 27, 2015. 13 more days to Playa del Carmen. 15 more days to 30 years!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is gammer. This is a verb, meaning, “To idle, trifle, gossip; to lounge about; to fritter away (time).” I especially like the lounging about and frittering away part. I hope to do a great deal of that, later today. That’s what weekends are for, right?

Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day. Quoting from the holiday website, “Building a more complete picture of your relatives and their history can help to promote a greater appreciation for life and form a better understanding of the individual journey your family has been on.” My father worked quite a bit on our ancestry, but was never able to finish it. Perhaps someday, I can pick up where he left off. It would be fascinating to see where we came from.

Yesterday was so much fun! It started out rough, as Christi and I wound up having to drag a cart full of tables uphill from the activity center to the pavilion where our picnic was being held. Christi was bringing a stack of chairs up when she almost popped that calf muscle again. I went down to where she was, and asked her to please go up there and tell people that she needed help. She was doing that thing she does, where she does everything herself. She finally agreed to do that, and, by golly, that was the last physical exertion that we had to do for the day! The rest of the day was great fun.

The highlight of the day was the Cornhole tournament. Some of you may not know what “Cornhole” is. Some folks might call it “bean bag toss.” Either way, it’s a fun game that just about anyone can play. It involves tossing a corn filled bag onto an inclined board, 27 feet away, that has a hole a few inches from the top of the incline. Points are scored if you land a bag on the board (1 point), or if you manage to get one in the hole (3 points). Christi and I played as a team, and managed to get all the way to the semi-final round of a double-elimination tournament. We won the first game, lost the second, and then won four in a row, finally losing in our seventh game. We were both exhausted afterward.

By the end of the tournament, it was time for the picnic to end. As Christi and I walked back up to the pavilion (very slowly), I noticed that the cart we had pulled with the tables on it was gone. Then I noticed that all the tables were gone. Someone had already taken them all back! I almost wept for joy. Then one of Christi’s associates told her that they would take care of the rest of the chairs, too. Mercy! The only thing we had to carry was the tote full of game activities that we had brought to the picnic.

Right after we got home, we changed into swimsuits and jumped into the pool for about an hour. I can’t remember feeling anything so wonderful! Then we sat in the hot tub for a little bit, letting those jets of hot water soothe our aching muscles. The rest of the evening was spent watching TV and resting.

Today, it will be grocery shopping, but not much else, I think.

On this date in 1590, Pope Urban VII died 13 days after being chosen as Pope, making his the shortest papacy in history. In 1777, Lancaster, PA, was the capital of the United States for one day. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain. On this date in 1854, The SS Arctic sank in the Atlantic Ocean, with 300 on board. In 1938, the first Queen Elizabeth ocean liner was launched in Glasgow. the nationwide debut of The Tonight Show occurred on this date in 1954, with Steve Allen hosting. In 1964, the Warren Commission released its report stating that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On this date in 1968, the musical Hair opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. It would go on to play 1998 performances before the collapsing of the roof would force its closure in 1973. Here’s the title song from Hair.

Today’s birthdays include Cosimo de Medici (Italian art patron), King Louis XIII of France, Samuel Adams (American revolutionary leader), George Muller (Prussian orphanage builder, famous for prayer life), Thomas Nast (American political cartoonist), Harry Blackstone, Sr. (American magician), Johny Pesky (American baseball player), William Conrad (American actor), Don Cornelius (American TV host, Soul Train), Randy Bachman (Canadian musician, Guess Who, BTO), Meat Loaf (American singer), Mike Schmidt (American baseball player), Shaun Cassidy (American singer), Sofia Milos (American actress), Tamara Taylor (American actress), Gwyneth Paltrow (American actress and foot-in-mouth specialist), Anna Camp (American actress), Avril Lavigne (Canadian singer/songwriter), and Lina Leandersson (Swedish actress).

Johnny Pesky was one of the great baseball players of the Boston Red Sox, born on this date in 1919. For one of several reasons that may or may not be true, the right field foul pole at Fenway Park has been named after him, called the “Pesky Pole.” He would have been 96 today, having passed away at 92, in 2012. Here is a fan-made tribute to the great Johnny Pesky.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country.
He gave them hail for rain, and fiery lightning bolts through their land.
He struck down their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country.
He spoke, and the locusts came, young locusts without number,
which devoured all the vegetation in their land and ate up the fruit of their ground.
He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their strength.
Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it.
He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.
They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 105:31-45

“The prophet celebrates the grace of God which preserved the chosen people untouched and safe from all these plagues. If both parties had been indiscriminately afflicted with them, the hand of God would not have been so signally manifest. But now when the Israelites, amidst so many calamities, experienced an entire exemption from harm, this difference exhibits to us, as in a picture, God’s fatherly care about his own people.” (p 271)

(From Daily Guideposts 2015)

It’s not often that I will share two days in a row from Daily Guideposts. But today’s reading and subsequent Scripture verses has struck a chord in me.

for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
Isaiah 65:22

In today’s reading, writer Carol Knapp speaks of celebrating her mother’s ninetieth birthday. Her mother’s name was Ruth, and they traditionally celebrated with Baby Ruth candy bars. The tables were filled with fun-sized candy bars. Carol sat next to her mother, listening to memories, so she could write something for the party.

The Depression years were rough . . . I sold my mother’s cookies door-to-door; I was about ten. Once I lost a quarter in the snow and cried all the way home–that was a lot to lose back then. I still remember my library card number . . . I loved roller-skating . . . my mother never understood why I wanted to read so much . . .

Carol expresses her love of listening to her mother’s stories, “mesmerized by all she’d lived through, all she’d done, accomplished, everything about who she is.” It was a life lived with purpose and determination. She had been widowed, survived cancer . . . Carol asked, knowing the answer before she asked, “How did you do it?”

“Her response, invariably: ‘I always had the Lord.'”

Since my father passed away, just over five months ago, I have found myself wishing that I had had more moments like that, just sitting and listening to memories. It did happen from time to time, but I regret that there weren’t more times. More than anything, I regret not recording conversations, writing things down. Of course we never know when our time with our loved ones is going to be over, and in this case, it happened before any of us realized it was coming.

My father left a legacy of love and loyalty; of faithfulness and caring. He also left a legacy of incredible faith in God. My mother once remarked, “He was the most moral man I’ve ever known.”

As I look back at his life, on this Ancestor Appreciation Day, I can see it more clearly than I could, earlier in my life. He suffered from this rare disease for almost a decade (perhaps more, I’m not sure), never complaining, other than about being an inconvenience to my mother. Was he in pain? We don’t think so, but we will never know. At least he never complained about it, if he was.

What kind of legacy will I leave for those who follow me? How will my daughters see me when I’m gone? I’m not going to go into detail, here, but I’m not feeling very good about myself, today. I don’t feel like I have a chance of living up to my father’s legacy. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try. I tend to catch myself falling into self-flagellation mode, but my wife is faithful to pull me out of it.

What will I do with this day? What will I do with the days ahead? So many things clamor for my attention and many of them are legitimate, especially work, church, and family. Many are total time-wasters.

I don’t know how to finish this, so I’ll just stop and quote some Scripture.

Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
Genesis 25:8
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

And this last one, while not included in today’s reading, is my “life verse.”

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

Father, I don’t know how to pray for this. I have to realize that this is still part of the grieving process. Yes, I miss my father, very much, still. I see nothing wrong with that, either. I ask for the Spirit to help me, to intercede for me, as promised by your Word. Teach me how to pray for a deliberate state of mind, that intentionally works to leave behind something of value. Not materially, but spiritually. May I work harder at knowing you, loving you, loving my family, and loving my brothers and sisters in Christ. May I not be so self-seeking, self-serving, self-gratifying. That will lead me nowhere. However, I also pray that I not get bogged down in “beating myself up.” After all, nothing can be done to change what has passed. So let me not spend an inordinate amount of time looking backward; may I look back only to learn how to look forward.

I pray for this day, that we will get our chores done and then have good rest, this evening, as we look forward to a busy work week. There is something going on for one or the other of us for the first four nights of this week. Give us strength to get through it. I pray ahead for our anniversary vacation trip. I pray that everything will go smoothly for this trip, and that we will have a relaxing, enjoyable time, celebrating our thirtieth anniversary.

Come, Lord Jesus. Should this happen before we get to Mexico, I will most definitely not complain.

Sorry to be a bit of a downer, today. Pray with me, that we all can somehow manage to leave behind something of worth.

Grace and peace, friends.

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2 thoughts on “What Kind of Legacy?

  1. I like the idea of an Ancestor Appreciation Day – my Dad also began to research his but got stuck about four generations back, I have often thought of trying to continue; maybe one day!

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