Some of you may have heard the news that my younger sister Lyz and her husband Braden recently had a baby! Little Ava was born on April 9th into a family filled with love and hope and joy. Beth and I are looking forward to meeting Ava when they come to Southern California this June!
This has brought back so many memories for me! I remember when both of our boys were born, both under circumstances that were both similar and different. Cameron was a day ahead of schedule, and so much of what happened was fast and surprising and beautiful and – speaking only for myself – ever-so-slightly nauseating.
(Note: I mean this in a humorous way that in no way diminishes the beauty of new life. Ask me about the story and I’d be happy to share. I’m almost positive that at some point you’ll point at me and laugh.)
Zachary arrived on exactly the scheduled date, though much of the day was spent waiting. The closing moments weren’t quite as planned, though this was more from an abundance of caution than any kind of scare. I’m happy to tell this story, too!
It also brings up a number of memories from my own childhood. Growing up in various suburbs of Los Angeles, I remember riding in my dad’s car – if I remember right, it was an olive green Ford Maverick – with with some kind of news on the radio. And I remember that he had a disturbing number of songs that he could relate to any number of subjects or events or pieces of conversation.
He tells me that this joyful singing came to an abrupt end at some point when – in my ever-youthful innocence – I said to him: “Daddy, please don’t sing.”
And it would be important to note that I now do many of the same things, turning situations or phrases with my children into songs and games and silliness. So far, neither of them have asked me to stop – which tells me they are infinitely better humans than I am.
And isn’t that the hope of us all? If we have the privilege of caring for persons younger than we are, we hope to teach them to be better people than we are. We hope that we might impress upon them the values and priorities that will help them to succeed and to make the world a better place. We hope to aid them in filling out all of our gaps, all of our failures.
We work to give them a foundation on which to build, and we hope that our own experiences and teachings give them footholds from which to reach to the sky.
In a word, we offer them a legacy – not a legacy to be admired and celebrated exclusively (though we may hope for that), but a legacy that is used as that foundation so that they might live into all the hopes we have for them.
Of course, we have benefitted from the legacies of many. We may think of parents or step-parents or grandparents. We may think of teachers or mentors or pastors or directors. We may think of neighbors or friends or celebrities or politicians. We may have been affected in our education, our jobs, our church, or our homes.
I invite you to consider the legacies that have influenced and aided you. I invite you to think about your own legacy. Celebrate that which has made you a better human.
And make a choice. Make a choice to teach and to lead and to influence and to give. Make a choice to love completely and fully. Leave a legacy of love.
May you love your legacy into being…