“Today is my day,” I declared. “Today I’ll start properly.”
I quickly tossed my uniform into my locker, picked up my knives and fled from culinary school. It was a drizzly Vancouver day, the kind where every passing coffee shop is a sanctuary. That day I chose the church of Thomas Haas, properly known as Sen5es, at the corner of Georgia and Howe. (That particular bakery is now gone but thank God the city’s legendary pastry saint is not. I miss him so.)
I stopped at the cafe with the intention of digging deep into Stephen Covey‘s bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was 22 and I obviously needed to learn from the man because I was grossly ineffective at finishing books, his included. There I was, fueled by both espresso and chocolate, ready to give him my full attention.
He got it, alright. I recall that day vividly because his idea of beginning everything with the end in mind – specifically life – resonated in a profound way.
I had recently attended the funeral of a family friend. Dave was a missionary in Cairo who tragically and unexpectedly fell to his death. The news shocked my family. His son’s words at the memorial service were that of picking up his father’s torch and carrying on his legacy of faith. He said so as he raised his father’s bible in his hand. In that moment everything crystallized and I really understood that people were going to say things about me when I died. I hadn’t ever thought about what I specifically wanted to be remembered for.
That afternoon at Sen5es was a tipping point. That day I thought long and hard about my values. I compared what I said they were against the evidence in my daily life. Was I headed in the direction of the legacy I wanted to leave?
My grandmother celebrates her 90th birthday tomorrow. June has fifty nine years on me. Her legacy is parcels filled with handmade doll clothes and beautifully scripted letters. It is finely tuned musical abilities and a treasured cookie recipe. Her legacy is decades of prayer and faithful service to her God, her church, her community and her family. Hers is a legacy I’d like to leave.
Who knows if we’ll each get to blow out ninety candles? Does that even matter? It doesn’t take ninety years to solidify a legacy. The minutes make the days, the days make the weeks, the weeks the years, and so on. Then you step out from this life and your legacy stays.
Daily routines are the building blocks and we each have the present. What legacy are you building today?