I will be 62 this month. This means a couple of things. It means that I am now living over a decade into the second half of a century, and it means that I have more time behind me than I do ahead of me. These facts are quite sobering, and I find myself thinking quite a lot lately about what type of legacy I want to leave.
When I was in my twenties, I didn’t think much about things like mortality or leaving a legacy. I was much too busy living day to day in pursuit of the next great adventure. In my thirties and forties, I was so occupied with raising my children that there never seemed to be time or energy to give much else a thought. It wasn’t until I reached my late fifties (and my once full nest was now empty), that I really began to question what I wanted to do with the second half of my life.
So I set goals, pursued dreams, and accomplished some amazing things. But that in and of itself wasn’t enough.
I remember sitting across the table from a good friend as we ate lunch at a local restaurant. With tears streaming down my face, I was confiding in her that I felt like a failure because I wasn’t where I thought I should be, either in life or in business. There were still huge gaps between where I was, and where I wanted to be, and time wasn’t slowing down.
In that straightforward, right to the heart of the matter skill that she possesses, she looked me square in the eyes as she quietly asked me, “Terry, what does success look like to you?”
My answer came just as quickly as the question and was just as straightforward. “I would want everyone I cross paths with to feel the love of Christ through me.”
I’ve thought about her question and my answer so many times since that day. There are still huge gaps between where I am and where I want to be. Time still isn’t slowing down. While I continue to work on closing those gaps, I am more aware of time constraints and the need to be intentional about doing the things that matter most.
While none of us know when our Maker will call us home, we can all be certain He will indeed call us home. And while we don’t know how many days on earth we will have, we do know we have this day.
And this day is enough. It is enough to intentionally put my answer into practice each and every day, in ways both large and small. It is enough to treat each person I meet with respect and dignity. It is enough to extend the gift of kindness and compassion. Enough to leave a seed of encouragement with someone who needs it. Enough to express thankfulness to the people who serve me; whether that person is my husband who faithfully pours out his love for me each day or the restaurant server who brings me the menu item I ordered, or the postman or woman who delivers my mail.
This day is enough to practice showing love as a mother, Nina, friend, neighbor and human being. I don’t do it perfectly; in fact, I often fail miserably. For, you see, if the truth be told, it is often easier for me to be kinder to a stranger than to those nearest and dearest to me. I tend to take those people for granted, assume they know I love them and often lose patience with their imperfections while expecting them to remain patient with mine. I often don’t give them the time or attention they deserve. I talk more than I listen, or I listen distractedly because my mind is tuned into a hundred other things.
Often, I am not the friend I want to be. My good intentions go unheeded, phone calls go unreturned, birthday wishes are belated.
Then there are things and people who make me completely forget the legacy I am trying to leave.
Please don’t put me behind the wheel of a car in rush hour – I turn into a completely different person! This is why I don’t display a “Jesus Loves You and I Do Too” bumper sticker on my car. I would rather not have people identifying Jesus’ kind of love with the maniac in the driver’s seat of my car.
Then there are those conversations that I, as a technically illiterate person, am attempting to have with the outsourced tech support person (whose primary language is most definitely not English). All I can say about that is: sometimes I am downright ashamed of myself, and I have had to apologize a time or two to set things right!
So I keep practicing. I keep showing up to love my family, my friends, and those who cross my path. I keep looking for opportunities to express my love, however imperfect it is, knowing that Christ’s love in me takes my imperfect efforts and perfects them and that same love covers my worst failures with grace.
I keep showing up in the world each day, practicing loving others because He first loved me.
I keep showing up in the world, practicing loving people, one person at a time, one day at a time. Because love matters. Because people matter.
And I hope that in some small way, I am able to leave people better than I found them. And that they would see a glimpse of Love that is perfect, even when mine is not.
Hi, I’m Terry Gassett, Jesus Follower, Wife, Mother, Nina, Life Coach, and Writer. I was born and raised in the “Deep South” and I still live and work there. I have been married to my heartthrob for over 30 years, and we have three grown children, three granddaughters (two who are twins!) and a Chi Chi/Jack Russell perpetual pup.
I am a Life Design Coach and I work with Creative Christian Women to design lives of purpose, passion, and joy!
When not listening to women’s hearts through the coaching process, I am expressing my own through writing. Currently, I’m writing my first book – “Breathe, Just, Breathe: Breathing in the Extraordinary Gifts of God on Ordinary Days.”
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