Legacy: A Tribute
By James J Jackson
Legacy: We are constantly reminded that many people, from presidents to paupers, spend a lot of time and effort nurturing and shaping their legacy. What will they leave to posterity that is of lasting value?
But, what does it really mean to leave a legacy? According to Susan V. Bosak, of The Legacy Project, legacy is.." a powerful life tool...and a catalyst for social change. A is about life and living; learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future". She further opines that legacy is fundamental to what it is to be human.
I once wrote that my father's dying legacy was to leave his ten children with someone whom he could trust to instill in them the faith, moral courage and principles in which he believed and knew would stand us in good stead. My uncle, David Jackson, his brother, fulfilled that legacy by rearing us in a Godly manner, teaching us the love of the Lord, ad to love our neighbors as ourselves. I have tried to instill a legacy like that to my own progeny.
Consider the wonderful legacy left recently by Ethel and Jim Kocman. They lived relatively quiet lives, and taught their children and grandchildren humility, love of the Lord, steadfastness, honor and love for others.
Jim died in his eighties, over fifteen yeas ago, but he left a legacy of happiness, love for one another and respect for everyone they met. Jim had quite a sense of humor. I will never forget the way he gently nudged me into getting a much-needed total knee replacement. I kept putting it off, so he began calling me 'Wimp' whenever he saw me. "How's it feel to be called a wimp by an eighty-year-old man?", he would quip, sarcastically. Get your knee done, then we'll have a foot race.”
He and his beloved Ethel maintained a home that exuded love, and warmly welcomed visitors and family, alike. Jim loved to show off his mastery at woodworking. He crafted some awesome pieces for Ethel and for friends and family. He mostly enjoyed colorful banter about politics and the state of the world.
At Ethel's funeral service, I marveled as I listened to many of their progeny express the love they received from Jim and Ethel, and the countless stories about the many wonderful times in their presence. Their recounting of the life lessons learned from this awesome couple, made me think, "Now, this is a true legacy; people telling others about the experiences and life lessons they received from you”.
Ethel was born on a Sunday, and died on a Sunday, at age 100. As her age advanced, and her body weakened, she often asked why God was keeping her here. Her family and friends would remind her just how much of a blessing she continued to be to those around her.
Leaving a multitude of people who honor your memory and bask in the warmth of all that you taught them, by your words, deeds and by watching you live out your faith, means much more than monuments, buildings, street names, etc. Love is the only true and meaningful legacy we have to leave those we love.
Jim and Ethel’s Legacy? They Loved the Lord all the days of their lives, and passed that love to countless others! I am blessed to be one of them!
Jim Jackson is a Nationally Syndicated Columnist (www.amyfound.org) and Author (In All Things...Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City). He's a freelance writer and Editor-In-Chief of the Amy Foundation Internet Writing Syndicate. Jim has been a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church for more than 3 decades.