A twisting path, not a straight line—that’s the concept of legacy.
Marty was a messed-up kid going down a dangerous path. The noise in his life was like the rock-and-roll music he listened to—loud and angry. But somewhere along the line he heard a different kind of music. It was a group of people who sought to minister to his troubled soul. They showed him the music of love and grace.
It was life-changing. And contagious. The change in his life—the peace—was hard to ignore, and he shared it with his brother, Gary. When Gary met this new circle, this new symphony, he knew that he wanted the peace that he saw in them and now in his brother. Gary went and shared what he’d found with his girlfriend, Shelly. She was convinced too.
Shelly’s dad, Frank, was not convinced. In fact, he wondered if his daughter was under the spell of a cult, so he went and checked out this new community of faith. The skeptic in him melted away when he saw the openness, the welcoming community, and the firm conviction.
I met Frank years later into his journey. His life was undergoing further transformation. He’d lost his wife to cancer and was ready for a new adventure. It was the beginning of his own generosity journey, and in time, Frank became known as one of the most radically generous people anywhere.
And what of Marty, the one who started this chain reaction legacy collision? He walked away from the passion of his early days of faith. Who knows all the reasons, but the loss of the music in his life seemed to negatively impact so many of those around him. There was real pain, even abandonment.
Marty just passed away recently.
Gary told me that in his final years Marty returned to the music. Gary wished it would have happened sooner, but maybe the music was sweeter to the ear that remembered the strains from so long ago. I’m not sure that Marty ever knew the ripple effect, the legacy he put in motion from when he first began to live with the music.
I think of what Frederick Buechner wrote in The Hungering Dark, “The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”
“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” – Frederick Buechner
Legacy. It’s never perfect. But it’s real and beautiful.
Remember that as you take stock of your life. The effects of your faithfulness and generosity and love can extend far beyond what you may ever know.
Photo by Ricardo Alfaro on Unsplash
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Published January 22, 2021
Topics: Family Legacy