“I had an inheritance from my father,
It was the moon and the sun.
And though I roam all over the world,
The spending of it’s never done.”
Ernest Hemmingway – For Whom The Bell Tolls
Recently my dad, Fletch, told me a story about his Grandpa Robinson which was both simple and profound. Grandpa Robinson lived with dad in Texas until he died, when my father was about 4. That’s 70+ years ago, so my dad’s memories about the man are worn, faded impressions that quickly drift away.
Still, every now and then I’ll hear a little snippet or detail about this mysterious relative. In this instance, Dad was telling me how much he loved Grandpa Robinson and how he wished he had known him better.
“Why did you love him so much?“ I asked.
“Oh, he was so very kind,“ Dad started. “I remember always being the first one up in the morning, and Grandpa would get up with me and make me oatmeal. Then he’d sit and talk to me while I ate breakfast. I knew he loved me very much. He was a good man…“
Grandpa Robinson lived an entire life filled with love & marriage, work & play, joys & sorrows, but I don’t know any of those stories. Maybe others in the family line know more about him than I. But what little I do know is the fragmented legacy he left behind in the mind of a four-year-old.
He cared for a young boy.
He gave his attention to a child who could only offer his company in return.
He was affectionate, kind, and “good.”
He cooked a mean oatmeal!
I doubt Grandpa Robinson realized that his thoughtful behavior would be a significant part of his legacy. I can’t imagine he considered how an early oatmeal breakfast would last beyond lunchtime! But, then again, do any of us know which of our actions will make a lasting impression?
So what do we do?
If we follow in this grandpa’s footsteps, it seems our legacy could benefit if our lives were marked by service to others – if we got up early and happily hung out with those who had little to “offer.”
Perhaps we could make lasting impressions by giving our full attention to every person we sit with – - maybe – - even – - possibly at the expense of “social” media? Of course, our legacy wouldn’t be hurt at all if we were affectionate, kind, and loving.
These are the facts I want to remember and the legacy I want to be remembered by – just like Grandpa Robinson.
What about you? What kind of legacy will your actions leave?