Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The start of a new year always causes me to pause and look back.  I remember reading a quote many years ago which stated, in so many words, that the only two things that matter at the end of your life are "what you learned and who you loved".  Those simple words resonate with me as I reflect on the previous twelve months, along with all the promises I made to myself and others at this same time last year.  Did I keep my promises?  Honor my vows?  Improve on the flaws that needed fixing?  These answers are light and simple as long as I did not screw up too severely in any one area.  I could go easy on myself by wiping the slate clean and looking only forward to what the new year could bring.  But what if this was it?  What if the close of this year marked my own personal expiration?  What would be left of me and my time here to warrant any noteworthy memories?  What would be my legacy?

I am not trying to be overly morbid by harping on my demise, but this does cross my mind from time to time.  Surely I'm not the only one.  Although I was raised Catholic and consider myself a Christian, I make a real effort to learn about and respect the religious principles of various groups.  My own spiritual journey is still evolving and leaves me hungry to explore other viewpoints from different faiths.  Beyond the walled garden of Christianity, I know that other faiths follow similar universal teachings of love, forgiveness and charitable deeds.  We all appear to believe the day will eventually come where we will stand in judgement for the life we lived and the choices we made.  I don't live in constant fear of that day when my judgement will come.  I would be a monumental hypocrite if I made that type of declaration.  However, I do wonder if today was my last day and all my second chances were used up, would my goods out weigh my bads?

My point is that we really don't know when that final day or year is coming.  Last year at this time, many people made heart felt resolutions, but did not live long enough to see them through.  Yesterday, someone that died today, planned to still be here right now.  How can I be so arrogant to think my last moments will be come at a convenient and well planned time?  There most likely will not be a warning bell for me to tie up all my unfinished business neatly for a glorious Hollywood ending (complete with an emotional musical soundtrack, I might add).  In true form, my final words will probably be something non-poetic like "aah crap, not now".  In that moment my mind may go to my family, my friends and loads of unfulfilled promises.  Will they be forgiving enough to remember me for my good intentions instead of my poor actions?  Will they be left behind knowing how much I loved them, even if I never said it enough times?

When I look at photos of my deceased and beloved grandparents, I am immediately filled with all the emotions and memories of the lives they led and the experiences we shared together.  My hope is that my children and others will be able to look at old photos of me one day, with my smile frozen in time, and remember my impact on their existence in a positive light.  I want my legacy to be more about what good I did do, instead of what I could have done.  I need to believe that my work on this earth will endure and inspire someone to want to go farther than I my own journey took me.  Maybe they will sense my spirit when they accomplish a personal goal or achieve a life long dream.  By "they" and "someone", I mean my own children of course, but these sentiments are not limited to only them.  If you want your legacy to endure beyond the span of your life, then you need to start now, on this day, in this hour, in this breath to make your best intentions real.  Don't assume that another year is available or guaranteed to every one of us to make good on today's promises.  If we live like this year is our last, we may work harder to make the time count for something better than just our best intentions and create a legacy we can be proud of.

Happy New Year to everyone and may this year find you happy, fulfilled and 
blessed with all the love your heart can hold.

No comments:

Post a Comment