Having gone through depression and being an Advocate personality (a, la Myers-Brigg personality type), I had rarely felt like I belonged anywhere, and thus the subject of death came up many times in my mind. However, in the past few years, when I think about death and dying, I think more about the legacy I want to leave and what kind of life I want to have lived should the inevitable happen. Recently, I visited one of my fellow congregants, who is now in hospice. Thinking about the pain and the triumphs that she has been through, I started also thinking about the legacy I want to leave when it is my time to go. Here is the legacy I want to leave:
First and foremost, I want to lead a legacy of love. I don’t want to leave this earth with people thinking that they were not valued and loved by me. Sure, I may have bad days, and inevitably this may happen to some degree, but as far as it is possible, I want people to know that they are valued. I not only want to speak encouragement into others’ lives, but also want to show tangible demonstrations of God’s love to them whenever I can.
I also want to contribute to ending social injustices, such as abuse and slavery. One way I aim to continue to do this is to spread awareness about these injustices and help some of those who are or have suffered through this. I want to continue encouraging and coming alongside, as a support, to those I know who have been through abuse or any other type of social injustice.
I also want to buck the trend of apathy in this society, by going against this trend. For instance, I have seen a lot of people both in the places where I work or used to work, do their job solely for the paycheck, and have no passion or joy in what they are doing or for the people they are supposed to be serving. For me, I don’t want to be that person who has no joy or passion for others or for life. I want to serve others, both at my job, and at other places, with all my heart. I want to work hard because I know it will all be worth it in the end. When I see someone hurting or suffering, I want to at least stop and pray for them. I don’t want to turn a blind eye to them, but see where I can help meet their need.
One of the reasons why I don’t ever want to be known as apathetic is because I know how it feels to be devalued by seemingly apathetic people, or people that just gave up on me. When I have been visibly upset, I lost count of how many times people either just judgmentally stared at me, or avoided me altogether, not even trying to help or seeing if everything is OK. I was also rejected by caretakers at a daycare because I was too unruly for them to handle. Also, because I had had a demanding personality when I was a child, most of my peers didn’t really want to be close friends with me. When I was going through hell and back in my early teenage years, I could probably count on my hands the number of people that actually cared enough to ask me what was going on with me.
I also want to be able to let go of the things that won’t matter after I die. Right now, what I am working on letting go of is a.) holding grudges and anger against individual people. b) the need to be always in control. c) little things that bother me now, but won’t matter after death.
Sometimes (ok, often), when people offend me, I tend to replay what they did and how I would respond if it happened again. This replay-tape in my mind tends to build up my anger and bitterness for those people. I am working on (and getting a bit better at) not replaying the tape so many times. I want to be able to let go and forgive, because I don’t want to be holding grievances against any person when it’s my time to go. I also want to let go of the need to have everything go my way. I always had thought that if everyone would just cooperate with me and everyone and everything would exactly be this certain way, I wouldn’t be stressed or upset at anything anymore. However, I have learned that even if things don’t all go exactly my way, I still can find joy and peace in the fact that everything will turn out how it is supposed to and that God will give me the strength I need during each season of my life. I also want to let go of all the other things that bother me in life, but that won’t matter when I go, such as not finding something that I want to use or waiting in traffic.
Finally, I want to hold on to the things in my life that will ultimately matter. I aim to always value my God, my family, and my friends, in that order, and above all else, than anything else this life has to offer. I want to value people over things. I want to hold on to continually developing and improving my character. I want to be less angry and anxious. Ever since I was little, I have had the propensity to worry. However, I want to leave here not worried about anything anymore. I want to be at complete and total peace. I also want to be more compassionate to others and less self-centered. I don’t want to let one more day go by without being thankful, in some way, for the people that are in my life. I want to glorify God every day of my life, and I want to love others the way that my God and the people that He brought into my life have shown love to me. I want to cause a positive chain reaction and ultimately change my world for the better.