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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Legacy

There's nothing like a funeral to make you look carefully at your life. It's a time for contemplation, repentence, and most of all, grace. As a singer I have attended and performed many funerals. The most meaningful part for me, whether I shared the life we are celebrating or not, is when friends and family stand to recount a memory. Emotions sit right at the surface, people are vulnerable and transparent, even those who rarely cry, and the dead are honored in such a special way.

My grandfather died last week at the age of 79. Actually, he was a leap year baby and his birthday of February 29, 1928 afforded him only 19 real birthdays, as we always joked with him. I packed up our newborn, leaving the other three in Jason's care, and flew to North Carolina to attend the funeral, share memories with my family and support my Nanny. Zachary, though completely unaware of his effect on everyone, was a healing presence, a tiny angel sent to give solace.

We stood around before the actual service as friends of Papa poured in the church, took my Nanny in their arms and laughed and cried together remembering his life. As I looked at all of these men and women, most of them 70 or above, I was taken by the sheer amount of history in the room. Every one of them had a story. Each one had made mistakes in their lives and lived to tell about them. Maybe some were harboring feelings of pain and guilt even then. Their careworn faces smiled and their eyes shone as they opened their hearts to receive the blessings of friendship and fellowship as they celebrated my grandfather.

What will my legacy be? I am creating what will someday be my history. Now is my chance to write a story that my children, friends and loved ones will want retold again and again. Like Joshua and the Israelites, I am carefully placing stones day after day that will tell my story to the generations that follow.

Am I placing stones of worry? Frustration? Impatience?

Or am I tenderly laying stones of faith, mercy, love and the faithfulness of God?

It's amazing how much my children remember from day to day. It gives me pause to think that each action or word in my day could make or break theirs. And it's humbling to hear the positive words my friends and family use to describe me. Then again, it is an arrow to the heart to hear a rebuke from my husband or read scripture and know that God's discipline is upon me. What keeps me on the upward climb to Christ-likeness is knowing that my life has an eternal influence, or eternal consequences, depending on how I live it.

So as I stood back and watched the people who loved my grandfather fellowship with one another, I looked ahead to the time when people will meet to remember me. I pray that each moment in my life, the good and the bad, leads to a lesson learned. I want my legacy to be one that points others toward the saving grace of Jesus.
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...


Nichole Nordeman





Visit my personal blog at Fruit in Season.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Jen said...

my prayers are with you at this time
I remember taking one of my babies (she was about 6 to 11 months at the time) to my grandparent's funeral and yes babies seem to have impact dont they

I enjoy bloggin because its a way of telling my story one day i plan to print my blogs and keep them for my children, their children maybe even their childrens children to read.

i thought your post was beautifully written

June 5, 2007 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Beautiful post, praying for you.

June 6, 2007 at 12:32 AM  
Anonymous amanda said...

At funerals I've always thought, why can't we get together like this while the person is still alive, but you are right. Emotions do sit right at the surface. Funerals do allow people to be vulnerable and transparent. There is a communication, a sharing at funerals that does not take place elsewhere. Thank you for pointing that out.
amanda

June 6, 2007 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Christine, I'm sorry to hear that your grandfather passed on. I'm sure that you will be leaving a wonderful legacy, you're an amazing woman instilling faith in your children, and loving their dad.

June 6, 2007 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Here you're the one who has suffered the loss, yet your words comfort me. And convict me to ask, what legacy will I leave the next generation and the next ten generations after?

June 6, 2007 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I am glad you were able to attend the funeral and spend time with family. I remember my own grandparents passing-family is healing.
I don't know you face to face-but from what I do see--you are leaving a fine legacy.

June 6, 2007 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

What a legacy! So well written, too, Christine.
As my husband and I always say, "Our children are our own biographers!"

Sandy
For Reluctant Entertainers

June 6, 2007 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Christine. You write with great wisdom and insight. Our words and our actions - our daily lives have such an impact on our loved ones. It is wise for us to think about the legacy we are leaving.

June 6, 2007 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Tami Boesiger said...

Amen, sister! Thanks for a good reminder that every moment, every statement creates our legacy. (That's a GREAT song too, btw.)

June 6, 2007 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Fifi said...

Hi Christine
Such a beautiful and uplifting message drawn from a moment of great sadness in your family. I thoroughly enjoyed this moving and encouraging piece.Thanks for sharing

June 7, 2007 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I am sorry for your loss, this was a beautiful message though. And I do think about my legacy. My Grandmother was so important to me, I pray one day I have a grandchild that says the same.

Blessings.

June 7, 2007 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Christine,

This is beautiful and a sharp reprimand to remind me about words I speak to my daughter. Thank you

June 8, 2007 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Changed by His Love said...

What powerful words about leaving a legacy! At my grandfather's funeral in February it was great having my little man there to bring so much joy and life to everyone. I am sorry for the loss of your grandfather...my grandmother just passed away this week as well.

June 9, 2007 at 8:09 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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