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Grief and Legacy – 2018-02-08

My heart has been so full these past few weeks – of both joy and heartache. As I contemplated the loss of another family member, I see again the joy of a soul whose treasure, whose future is heaven… but also the heartache of loved ones who were left behind. Some times there is a conflict between honoring the life and wishes of our dearly departed and the need to honor our grief. Finding that balance can be hard… We must honor our grief if we are to fully process it and release it rather than being trapped by it, but as we age, we often have a picture of how we would like our life remembered… I pray to not encumber my children with a vision that does not also honor their grief.

This topic has had a double impact on me – I’m working to update the Legacy meditation station. I thought I had it done. It’s probably not coincidence that the paper on which it was written, then epoxied onto a log, peeled off and blew away. As I was debating my next method of creating this, I began re-thinking what this station said… It speaks of the legacy we inherit – as I stated, this is often a combination of good and bad memories. There is a saying about not speaking ill of the dead, however, pretending someone was perfect just being they are no longer living often does not allow people to process those feelings that can be unresolved at the time of death. We are perfect in heaven, we are NOT perfect on this earth. If you have never had to say you are sorry, it does not mean that you never should have, it just means you never did. If you did not own your stuff, chances are you have left someone else holding your baggage.

One of the sad but blessed things about a funeral is that often people get together for funerals who rarely see each other. The blessing is that when everyone gets together, they have an opportunity to remember… Since none of us perfect, there can be a combination of both pleasant and painful memories… It is ok to love someone, and not love everything they said, or everything they did or everything they are/were. But talking, remembering is often a beautiful way to move forward… and in the remembering, our grief begins, and the pain lessens just a bit.

My mind swirls back and forth between rewriting the Legacy meditation stations and the recent passing, because it is a visual of a Legacy remembered. This generation is far to quickly fading from this earth. I know that we must honor the Legacy we inherit from our family and from our culture, but we are not required to carry all aspects of it into the future. There are some things we need to name, then release to be buried in the past… even if the person is still living, there are some burdens that have bowed our back under the weight of them, and it is time to move on. We can honor the past, release it, and move into a new future.

We can truly only change one life – our own. Whether or not we choose to, we each have a sphere of influence, and that often can be positively effected by looking at the legacy we inherited, sifting the treasure from the clutter, and choosing a new Legacy to leave to future generations.

I did not know this family member well, but I am looking forward to hearing about the family Legacy that she has left to her children and grandchildren. I feel as though this is an opportunity gather treasure… we are so often made richer by the influence of others on our lives.

We have a generation that is largely disconnected from family due to geographical distance. If I could do it over, I would try to find a way to make that connection in spite of the distances… but the past is not within my reach.

There is that old joke about Hearses not having uhaul trailers attached… I kind of like the visual of a trailer… bury the baggage with me, whether it came from me or from somewhere else, it would be pretty awesome to bury it and be free move on… but wait! That offer has already been made and accomplished! Jesus is the only one capable of burying all that baggage… after all, His tomb is empty! Not only does his tomb have a lot of room for our stuff, His love is so big and so magnificent, He can totally handle healing our broken hearts! So, I look ahead and wonder, if we are going to build a foundation for the next generation, what name do we put on the cornerstone? Is it the name of a person? Of a family? Or is it the name above all names – Jesus… Is the name “pride” or is the name “love?” By what name do we wish to define our Legacy? …and will the fruit of our lives fulfill that Legacy? Oh, to leave a legacy of blessing!

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name. Isaiah 62:2