Thursday, November 07, 2013

Legacy

This is a blog post that I wrote in early November and for some reason didn't post...

Today I went to a memorial service for a church member.  I met this man when I was in my church choir. He and his wife tended to host the biannual choir parties at their house.  Later, I went to Bible study at their house and they would ask my opinion about health issues.  His health was failing, and  because I worked at the hospital, he sometimes wondered about my input about what he should do; should he go to the doctor about this issue, or is it common and I shouldn't worry?

I haven't been to a funeral since my ministry days.  One thing that I have learned about attending funerals is that as much as you knew a person, when you hear the eulogy or the "story" told about the deceased that is when I realize that I didn't really know this person as well as I thought or as well as I could have.  And that makes me sad.  So I was listening to his friend give the eulogy and I thought to myself about the legacy that this man left. After 78 years and 15 days of life, he had lived a long life and had a great love of family and was a man of integrity in business and personal aspects.  The church was full.  And as I looked around, remembering previous funerals I have been to, the last being my father's funeral, I wondered if I were to die earlier than I plan (hope), as I plan to leave a long life, I wondered if I were to die today/tomorrow (God forbid), what would the people have to say about me? 


What legacy have I left?  What have I contributed to this world? and does it really matter?  

I would like to think that my presence in the world matters.  Sure I may not be doing anything phenomenal to contribute -- I am not fighting for a cause, not curing cancer or some other horrible disease, nor am I vocationally in ministry anymore. -- but I am living my life and raising my children with integrity.  

Since leaving the working world, I have felt cut off at times and ineffective in my efforts. Mind you , when I was working in ministry there were days when I wondered if my presence was really doing anything.  Did it even matter if I came to work, if I saw these patients or not?  Of course it did, but not necessarily in ways that I could see or comprehend.   In the grand scheme of life, 70 or 80 years worth, what is the 15 years that I worked in healthcare or the 13 that I worked in chaplaincy, compared to the lifetime that I potentially have left?  

Today while in line for the guest book sign in, I was greeted by another church member whom I don't get to chat with that often.  She says that she met someone at the hospital who remembered me and then went on to describe the person, and the circumstances under which they met.  Oddly, I remembered this woman right away from the vague description and explained that I had done a funeral in our church for the woman's mother.  My only funeral in Vancouver of 2 that I have conducted in my lifetime. 





So I don't really know what I'm trying to figure out with this statement about legacy as I am still discerning where to go from here in terms of my "career".  When I am able to return to the working world outside of my home, what will I do?  I have been thinking that I will not return to the world of chaplaincy, or if I do it will not be in the same capacity as before.  Originally, when I left my chaplain position, I had thought to do something in the field of photography.  I'm not so sure that I will pursue that at this point, as there seem to be photographers at every other turn.  But I do want to make sure that when I die that people will be able to say that I did whatever it was well.  That I contributed this world and didn't just waste my time in life on my frivolous self-centred pursuits.  

Of course, my legacy will be my children but as the journey has just begun in this arena, I'm not sure how well it is going yet.  

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