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Legacy

20 Feb

When we read about the legacies people leave behind when they pass away, they generally refer to monetary situations. Maybe they donated a large sum of money to a special charity, or left valuable property to family members. But a personal legacy is more than that. It doesn’t always involve things of monetary value. Our behavior can become our legacy. What we do while we’re alive, who we help, how we serve, and how we interact with others is the real legacy we leave behind. Money gets spent, property gets sold and after time people forget about it. But if we’ve touched other lives in positive ways, and made a personal impact it isn’t easily forgotten. When we think back over our lives we remember the times when we needed help and someone was there for us. We recall specific moments when we felt lost and someone reached out a hand to us. Those are the memories that never seem to fade. They are etched in our minds forever because we felt loved and cared for. If we live our lives in ways that extend love to others, we will change the world for good because we were here. It will never be forgotten, and although time will continue to move forward after we’re gone, the rippling effect of kindness will carry on forever.

It seems as time has passed we’ve become more callous, more selfish, and less sensitive to the needs of those around us. Our lives are more complicated now than ever before. People are busy and focused on their personal lives and sometimes don’t even look up when they pass us on the street. Smiling and saying hello has become a rare experience instead of the norm. We seem to always be rushing off to the next thing, and in a hurry to leave where we are. But when things go wrong and everything stops we see those around us, and notice what’s happening, and if we need help and someone is there for us we feel intense gratitude. Those moments are a reminder of who we are and how much we need each other. Even when we’re busy we can still take a moment to offer a smile, say hello, and lend a helping hand. It’s amazing how even small gestures of kindness can change a situation. If we keep our eyes open we will find countless ways to do small acts of kindness every day. And although they may seem small to us, they be an enormous help to those receiving them.

Life is complicated. We experience a lot of things as we go through the course of one day. We make dozens of decisions and often accomplish much. If we want to make a positive impact and leave a mark of kindness and support, we have to look up and outside ourselves. It’s so easy to be only focused on our own lives. We have a lot to take care of and responsibilities to attend to. But as we go along we are passing others who have just as much to manage. If we try we can be a blessing to them. We can help lift a grocery sack, open a door, pick up something that’s dropped, or take a moment to listen. It doesn’t take much time and if we tried every day to be just a little more helpful, kind, and supportive to others, over the course of our lives we would change the world. When we help someone it makes them feel cared for and they may then care for someone else. Like the never ending ripples in a pond, the kindness will expand. That’s a legacy to be proud of. We don’t need money, and we don’t need expensive possessions. We just need to be kind. It’s the very best thing we can do.

Today if you’ve been focused on all you have to do and haven’t noticed those around you, stop for a moment and look around. See if there is some way you can extend a small kindness. If you do that every day you will feel the glory that comes from goodness and you’ll leave a legacy behind that will never end. You have so much to give. You can change the world.

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