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Legacy

June 29, 2017

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My mother’s memorial service was Saturday June 24, 2017.  Church people came.  Relatives came.  Friends came.  People whose lives she touched came.  They all shared stories of why they came and what her life meant to them.  It got me thinking of what her life meant but also what all lives can mean.  Often we don’t know how we affect people so looking at what other people’s lives have done can give us direction and hope.

SMILE

My mother always smiled.  If we were angry, she would ask us to think about the other side.  If we said “I’m the only one not going”, she would ask who else wasn’t going.  Her smile didn’t mean she didn’t talk about or deal with conflict and tough issue.  Her smile was also part of her hospitality in making others feel welcome.  People I didn’t know from church talked about how the first time they came, she smiled at them and welcomed them.  Her smile was infectious that way.  I told them that in her memory they were the ones that needed to smile and welcome others and make them feel that this church was their home.

CREATIVITY

She was trained as an art teacher.  She was part of the banner ladies that made banners.  It wasn’t just banners in that they studied the symbols of the church and its seasons.  They tried to do different cloth and medium so that they never repeated themselves.  They designed the banners and fretted over them and then from their drawings made the patterns so that the banner became reality.

In 1951 someone shared that they remembered her doing crafts for Vacation Bible School – carving a Scottie dog from a bar of Ivory soap.  I did it as a child.  I taught that in different ways.  I did that with my children.

She was a 3 -4 year old Sunday School teacher with 2 others for 24 years.  She was creative in what they did and in the attendance chart which was actually making a bulletin board each quarter.  The kids would make pictures of the “people” they had chosen and dressed and other things on the board.  She worked with others as a team in many things she did.

One comment from a school mate of mine was that my mom threw the best birthday parties.  I can see in what I did with my children and how my adult kids now work with others that this legacy continues in many ways.

LEADERSHIP

She was also a Brownie leader for 24 years for all 3 of us girls.  She “flew up” to Junior etc as we became older.  In those early days there were many trainings and she went to them all.  She was a continuing learner as well as teacher.  Her leadership was one of growing in learning as well as figuring out how to help the girls and people she worked with.

BEING PRESENT

She asked me if I would rather practice my piano or help her with dishes.  It never dawned on me that it took her 30 minutes every night to do them – actually I believe she would just keep clunking things at the sink periodically to make me think she was still doing them.

I know my middle sister would be talking to mom and every once in a while, mom’s mind would be off somewhere. Mom would say “uh huh” but to check and see if she really was listening, my sister would say something like “I went over Niagara Falls in a barrel and then went to the moon.”  If there wasn’t an acknowledgement, my sister would leave.  Mom would realize she was gone and say “not again”.  Yet we know that if we called her on the phone, she would talk and share and listen.  She would do that in person.

These are some of the things she gave me to help me know that I didn’t always need to be perfect.

  1. wooden wall hanging “Around here, “Normal” is just a setting on the dryer”
  2. Refrigerator magnet “This home is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy”

At this point in my life, “legacy” is probably already set in some ways.  There are still things I can do but I see that most of what I need to be doing is encouraging others to start their legacy to be in the lives of their children and family, other’s children and their families, the community and be a leader to all those around.  What is your legacy and how does your life impact others?  Smile, be creative, be a learning leader and be present to situations and those around you.  Doing just this will leave a lasting legacy in your life and in the lives of others.

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