We are all the recipients of someone’s legacy — what they left behind to be remembered by. A legacy is one’s stamp upon the future, making a contribution to future generations. Billy Graham suggests that “the greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
Such was my legacy from my mother, an example of encouragement. Mom was raised with five brothers, the only girl in the family. Having been raised as a child during the depression, and as a young woman during WWII, she knew well the importance of hard work, honesty, love of family, and caring for others. When I was in the seventh grade, she went back to work full time, ostensibly to provide the “extras” for our family of four, but I saw another trait.
As a school teacher in a mostly poor, rural community, she frequently would buy a coat for a child who didn’t have a warm one. She would give these students new clothes or our outgrown ones in good condition, or provide food for “her children” or their families. She was a mentor and encourager to her fellow teachers and friends in her church and community.
Had she lived until today (March 21), mom would be celebrating her 98th birthday. But dementia and ill health took her from us long before her death in 2013.
On the night before she died, mom had not spoken a word for over a day. Yet, as my sister and I were sitting with her, we heard her unmistakable voice, loud and clear. She simply said, “Help.” And then, “…each other.” Those were her last words.
No matter our age, we are all writing our own legacy every day. Let us use the power of our lives for the good of those we touch — our family, our community, and possibly even those we do not know. Let us help each other!
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My grandmother’s legacy has continued beyond her lifetime to impact those who will never know where the example to help them came from. “Ripples in the water,” we call it. We all make them. Choose, with God’s help, to make them count for good.
- Stephanie Cervantes
As always, we are thankful to have Reba Shackelford as a guest writer for The Story Board! Reba is a retired teacher/administrator, and is currently an advisor for the board of The Encouragement Project. She is always looking for ways to share love and encouragement with those around her. Especially with the elderly. And children. And those in between.