Leaving a legacy

write your own story words on page

I remember Denise. She . . .

write your own story words on pageThose dots are yours. Yours to mould, yours to decide how they will be filled, or left unfilled. We all have a choice, whatever circumstances are thrust upon us during our “four score years and ten”, as my maternal grand-mother used to say.

When yours have passed, what will your dots show? Will they focus on what you achieved with your career? Your family? Your friendships? Your collection of . . .  You can fill in those dots yourself if they’re applicable.

Big questions. Happily we ‘should’ have lots of time to contemplate them. How many of us actually do though? Many of us are so bound up in the detail of our busy day-to-day lives that we don’t take time to consider the bigger picture. I believe God made us all unique, all with different personalities, gifts and skill-sets. We all have a calling in our lives. How many of us miss ours?

Finding that one thing we can do

How sad is it to think that we rush through our day-to-day lives and miss that one thing that we were put on this planet to do? The one thing that only we can do.

So many of us do exactly that, though. We venerate those who have found their life’s calling. You know who they are; the ‘high achievers’ in their individual fields. It could be their roles at work, in research, in sport, that one legendary song, or helping others, supporting others. The latter are those often unheralded, often unseen heroes that we admire.

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How many of us really consider how we spend our time? I know that it’s easy to waste and there’s never enough of it. But what is it that differentiates someone who leaves a wonderful legacy and the majority of people who are forgotten except by a few, often after a relatively short period of time?

My mother’s sudden death one year ago really focused my mind on this. What will my mum be remembered for? What do I want to be remembered for? The Bible says we are but ‘dust’, our lives are ‘fleeting’, yet some of us dust-monsters leave a trail for generations to follow, whilst others are blown away almost instantly, as if by the wind.

It’s taken me a while to find my own calling. Fifty years in fact. Yes, I was successful at work in a bank, a radio station, a newspaper group, a Premiership football club. Great jobs! Yes, my three girls make me very proud and happy. Yes, I love my husband, my home and my friends.

But that one thing that I was put in a certain place ‘for a time such as this’? Well, it has taken me 50 years to find. But I have. I’ve just published a book following my quest to see my dots put perfectly in place. I know that it is never too early, but it is sometimes too late to think about what your legacy will be.

“I want to make a difference with my life” is something we often hear. How? What type of difference? Those claims need substance and for some it takes a lifetime to fill in their dots. Some never really manage it. Isn’t that the saddest thing of all?

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You only have one set of dots. It’s up to you to make sure you use them well.

About Denise Stevenson

I'm a married-mum-of-three, living in SW France with my husband. I am founder and president of an international church and have just released my third book, Aerobics in a Wig, following my faith journey through breast cancer.