Sunday, May 22, 2011
Sunday Afternoon Tea
Heritage is one of those words which paints a word picture in my mind. I think of lace and perfume and pearls and a well used Bible and vintage books and someone's grandmother.
Unless I am at the farmer's market and then heritage brings to mind a pure seed line, not having been messed with by chemistry... good food. Either way, the word heritage brings a smile to my face.
While my thoughts when writing this week were much about the heritage one leaves for children and grandchildren, in reality we all leave a heritage of sorts as we live our life in the midst of other people. We all leave behind an influence of our days here on the planet although for some it is good and for others... not so good.
While we are all flawed human beings needing grace, most of the time our flaws do not cause serious harm to others around us... and even when harm has been done, God's healing grace is still available. How different is the life of one who has forgiven another and accepted God's emotional healing... as opposed to the person who has chosen to walk through life wounded and angry.
However, my ponderings this week were all about the good heritage we leave. I think some people instinctively are aware of heritage... some mothers and fathers, definitely the poets and artists, the aunt who wants to nurture a love of baking in her niece and the man at church who includes the fatherless boy on fishing trips. Whether they call it heritage, or influence, or just being a good neighbor... it is the same as we plant good seed in the life of another.
I am thankful that much of my reading as a young woman included words written by men and women who had walked this road before me... a few old enough already to have grandchildren but all reminding me to embrace each day with thought toward the future.
The making of memories, celebrating traditions, reading stories, memorizing scriptures, baking and cooking and talking around the dinner table, playing sports and watching sports played... all activities which come together to make a person what he or she becomes.
I have come to realize that while one thinks first of parents and grandparents, anyone can leave a good heritage. My most influential adults were not in my family (except for my mother and father). I know quite a number of people who were inspired to create (whether gardening, sewing, quilting, painting, baking, etc.) by neighbors. Obviously a person involved in professional ministry will influence others but so do those of us whom others know to be a Christian.
I've been pondering the question... what is the difference between leaving a memory and building a heritage? In my own thinking... a memory will be left regardless of what we do (for good or evil) but a heritage is based on our influence towards that which is good and beautiful and godly.
When I think of people who have left a heritage to friends and family, I think of those who have run the race for decades and who... in spite of many trials and tribulations along the way... have taught us to live a life of grace.
They have inspired us to have faith in spite of trials, to "do something" to bring beauty to my home, to have a passion for something and someone and Someone, to let music and art and flowers calm my soul, to head for the Psalms when troubled instead of stomping our feet and complaining.
There were people along the way who taught me how to bake a cake, and plant a garden, and that it really is more fun to give than to receive... and that good books will always mean a friend is nearby. The memory of one who has left a heritage in my life will always bring a smile, as does seeing a good heritage being formed in my family.
We will all leave memories of our life... how good it will be to leave a heritage... a legacy... that when friends and family look back, they will know they are better for having us be a part of their life.