Keepin It Real

Eight.

“That is the legacy they left behind.”

We have all probably been at a funeral, public speaking engagement, or seminar where the legacy of a person who has passed has been discussed. Heck, sometimes this conversation happens in sports bars, office discussions, or at church.

Legacy…

I used to think legacy was just a list of accomplishments and achievements. I thought that only famous or well-liked people are able to leave behind a legacy. As I’ve explained to you all before, I am not a person that people like. I assumed that when I die I’d have a pretty subpar funeral with a couple friends and family and then they would move on. And yes, I understand this sounds extremely morbid and self defecating but please know that I am a realist and this is just how my mind works. Very frank. Very matter of fact. Thinking this does not make me feel sad. It’s just a fact of life.

One night, I had a dream. Well, it was actually a vision of sorts from God. I do not remember the dream or what happened in it but I do remember that when I woke up I had to look up the dictionary definition of legacy. I kept repeating to myself, “What is your legacy? What are you leaving?”

I realized, I have NO clue.

I walk around daily concerned, for the most part, with Janae and what she wants and what she deems necessary for the day. It bothered me for a couple days because I couldn’t figure out why this word felt like it needed to be apart of my life. 

A couple days, I tossed and turned trying to sleep and God spoke again in my dreams. He asked me “Whose legacy are you following?”

Me: “I dunno, my ancestors or something. I guess.” 

Him: Whose legacy are you following?

Me: “I never thought about it before. My parents “

Him: “Who’s following your legacy?”

Me: “I’m not even 30 yet, I don’t have a legacy!”

Him: “Who’s going to follow your legacy?’

Me: “I guess my kids will when I die.”

Him: “Who’s following your legacy?”

I woke up in a confused sweat asking myself all the same questions from my dream. I honestly couldn’t answer not one question. I sat up and grabbed my notebook because I think better when I can see my own words. I wrote ‘Legacy’ at the top of the first blank page I came to. On the first line I wrote, “Whose legacy am I following?” I wrote a quick list of my bloodline, people I look up to. I wrote my mom’s name, my sister, my grandma, my dad’s name then I stopped. I thought. I wrote Michelle Obama, Charlin Neal, Rihanna, my HS cheer coach and a couple other strong people I’ve wanted to be like over the years. Next to each name I put a quality or attribute about them I would love to emulate. 

The next question I wrote was ‘Who’s going to follow my legacy?” I wrote down the names of my god children, my nieces and nephew, my cheer children, and my namesake (yes, I have a namesake but that’s a story for a different topic). I looked at my paper pretty pleased with myself for being such a freaking genius and figuring out the answer to those questions. I closed my notebook and went on my day as normal. I felt good for a couple days…until, I had the dream AGAIN!

God: “Whose legacy are you following?”

Me: “Ummm my mom and all those people whose names I wrote down… remember?”

God: “Whose legacy are you following?”

Me: “I told —“

God: “Who’s going to follow your legacy?”

Me: “Did I forget someone on the list?”

God: “Who’s going to follow your legacy?”

I woke up completely confused. I checked my list trying to figure out who I left out on my lists. I sat. I prayed. I sat. I prayed again, angrily. I sat. I thought.

“It’s impossible for me to know every single person who looks up to me. I don’t know who watches me unless they’re close to me.” I said to the silence in my room. It reminded me of when I first started at my job. “When I’m at work there’s always customers who watch what I do and write comments later about what I did. I can never tell who’s going to say something to my boss and who isn’t. The take every little things I do that I don’t even notice and make it a big deal.”

And then it hit me. Like a pillow case full of bricks. I understood what answer God was actually trying to get from me.

‘What is my legacy?’

To the young boys and girls that look up to me now, in the past, and the future, what legacy am I giving them to remember me by? Do they look at me and say, don’t do that because then I’ll be like Janae. Or are they saying, say that because Janae would say that?

God began to reveal to me that every single person on Earth has a legacy. The legacy does not start with death. It begins when you open your eyes and you take that first step out of the bed. Each of us will leave a legacy when we leave our physical bodies. You don’t get a say on whether you get a legacy or not. People will always have an opinion on who you are and what you’ve done (This is your legacy). Don’t you want a good one? Your legacy is the one quality or attribute about you that is the biggest. It could be your smile or the way you care about people. It can be your smart mouth or your ugly teeth. 

I went back to my list and looked at the names of the people who’s lives I affect and next to their names I put how I assume they see me. Some of them had positive adjectives next to their names, some had not so nice things next to them. God is intentional. He’s asking me to be intentional with my thoughts, my actions, and my words. Even though this list wasn’t a mile long, for each person on this list there would be hundreds of lives attached to those names through the course of their time on Earth. The stuff they they see me do and say will also affect those hundreds of lives too. Some in big ways, some in small ways, some consciously, and some unconsciously. 

I began to pray:

God, I have a legacy and I have no idea how to create and shape it. All I know is that I want my legacy to reflect your grace and mercy in my life. I want my legacy to be one that holds your Word above anything else. I want my legacy to reflect love. You are love and I want anyone who looks at me to experience that love for theirselves. How can I do that Lord? How do I create a legacy that will make you proud to call me your daughter?

 

God:

Stay close, I got us!

k, good talk

-J

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2 thoughts on “Eight.

  1. That legacy read was amazing….I enjoyed so much, i must be crazy for trying to read it while driving…dangerous I know. But every time I tried to put it down… I just couldn’t disengage. Great read. I was once told, its not about how famous you are, how much money you make, or how talented you are. It’s about how many lives you touch while you’re here.

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