I have two roads I travel on to work. Each day I make a choice. But no matter which way I go, I am confronted with part of my history.
In one direction, I pass by Papaw and Mamaw Arnold’s old house. It is empty now, so it looks abandoned. But that is not what I see when I drive by the house. What I see are the memories. I remember the laughs. I can almost smell the cakes. Sometimes I expect to see them sitting on the porch, which was their favorite pastime. As I pass by, I especially remember the stories. My papaw was a natural born storyteller. An afternoon with him was fun and informative. It was fun, because he was funny. He always had a story, and he always laughed before the punch line. (No one liked his jokes more than he did). It was informative, because he never forgot the war he fought, the counties he saw, and the cold he felt. He had a way of making me appreciate life, and it all comes flooding back when I drive that way to work.
The other direction takes me past Mamaw Riden’s house. It is also abandoned. But that was not always the case. At one time, before sickness invaded, it was a house filled with singing and laughter. There was always an empty chair beside her. That empty chair was an invitation, an invitation to hear of the goodness of God and the needs of others. It was an invitation to learn that life is too short to be angry, and it passes too quick to be bitter. Life moves to fast to regret, and it is too important waste.
No matter which way I drive I am confronted. I am confronted, on the one hand, with the prayer of Psalm 39:5. “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! At the same time, however, I am reminded that this breath that is our life lingers, and because it lingers, it matters. My kids barely knew the people who once inhabited these now abandoned houses. Yet, they are shaped by them in ways they will never fully understand.
Each of our lives are designed by God to leave a legacy, to build something beyond ourselves. This work happens in the mundane experiences of life, and it happens one day at a time.
So today I pray. I pray that one day my grandkids may drive by my abandoned house, and remember something about me. I hope they remember joy. I pray that they remember faithfulness. Whatever they remember, I know this: I am in the process of leaving a legacy today. So I had better work to make it a good one.