What is a legacy? Some might say money, property or customs handed down. I prefer to think of legacy as the indelible mark an influential person makes on their family, their friends, their community and their world. So, here is my father’s legacy, may it be fuel for hope for generations to come:
- Giving with selfless abandon. Whether it was help with auto repairs, a few extra bucks, sound advice or a willing hand, my father was a profound giver. He often gave to, what some might call, a fault. However, it is this example of giving that showed me how richly the spirit receives by looking beyond itself to the needs of others. I am still in awe.
- A quirky and playful sense of humor. Always having a joke, a witty reply or a funny story at the ready, my dad could certainly amuse anyone who walked through his office door. I have seen the transformation from grumble to giggle of many of his customers over the years, several returning to the seat across his desk purely for the joy of his company. And, as close friends know, being awarded a funny nickname by Big Mike was like gold—it meant you achieved “in” status . . . although it also came with heaps of extra sarcasm.
- Family first and always. The eldest of his siblings and a man of the Word, he put an immense value on family. I recall many instances of helping family, loving family unconditionally and guiding family through tough obstacles. I know how much his folks meant to him and am proud to keep that tradition going strong.
- A work ethic that rivals Atlas. It was only as I grew up that I truly understood how much of the world he carried on his shoulders. Still, dawn to sunset (or later), he worked diligently to provide for his family, keep his commitments to customers and show us that work is only a bother if you don’t bother to put your all into it. Not a perfectionist but certainly a details man, I marveled at his thorough nature and integrity.
- A big kid at heart. My dear mom has been in the front row for many of my dad’s goofy voices, whimsical adventures and silly games. He loved to laugh and felt it his mission to make others do the same. Belly laughs, guffaws, chuckles and mischievous snickers (one of my favorites) all echoed from the deep lungs of this big kid. He enlightened us and lightened our days.
So, as you consider the legacy you wish to maintain for your loved ones or the one you intend to build within your life’s journey, know that the impact is not always monetary or material . . . the most valuable legacy is time, love and the ability to hope.
Hope is laughter. I say it often, even to my reflection in the mirror when I’m scowling over a chaotic day or realizing that the white hair sticking straight up off my head is not just bleached by the sun . . . or that it has friends hiding elsewhere in my locks. Yep, hardy har nature.
So, for sanity and humility, I have been keeping track of silly moments and how they can be transformed into fuel for hope. Here is the most recent highlight reel:
- Pulling my laptop case out of my luggage and realizing that it freed every scrap of note paper I used on the plane, which all go sailing into the chilly wind . . . Hopeful part: seeing my dear friend (preggers, mind you) was swift enough to catch them with her foot. Brava!
- Calling my bestie out of habit one night and remembering that it’s two hours ahead there . . . Hopeful part: she picked up anyway and had great news to share. Yeah synchronicity!
- Reaching up to click the garage door opener on my car visor and remembering I don’t have one . . . Hopeful part: my old house has a new family celebrating their first Christmas in it.
- Typing my password into WordPress to write this blog and realizing I was using credentials for another site entirely . . . Hopeful part: it reminded me to be present in the moment.
- Writing a Madlib for my niece while explaining that “pink,” “princess” and “fly” can only be used once for each story . . . Hopeful part: she knew how to play with language well enough to make me giggle with “purply pink,” “prince” and “flying.” I can’t argue with creativity.
- For the thousandth time, mistakenly telling the theatre ticket taker, “You too” after he said, “Enjoy the show” . . . Hopeful part: He said, “I absolutely will but you let me know how it is.”
- Entering a conference call number and wondering why no one was calling in, only to recall that I was the host . . . Hopeful part: Technology allows for a speedy recovery.
- Zipping to the coffee shop a few miles north of me without checking directions for my meeting, only to realize it was a mile south of my casa . . . Hopeful part: I got to hear my fave song on the radio.
- Putting on a shirt inside out and walking out the door . . . Hopeful part: apparently I’m so out of touch with teen fashion that I’m, like, way trendy (purely by accident).
Pretty much, every day presents a chance to laugh at yourself, roll your eyes playfully at life or stop taking the little bumps too seriously. I welcome comments on your moments of laughter that inspired hope.
And, in honor of my wee nephew’s first birthday, here is a funny stache his sister “helped” him with that I pray makes him laugh . . . hopefully, someday.