Wednesday, April 4, 2012

40 Days of Virtue: The Legacy of Love

"But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part..."
~1 Corinthians 13:8b-9

Planning. Preparing. Predicting.

Ever feel like you spend more time in the future than you do in the present? I know I do. As a visionary leader, much of my time is spent looking ahead. Promoting the next event. Planning months, even a year in advance. Preparing the next lesson I will teach, the next message I will speak, the new paintings I will market. Predicting the outcome so I will know how to prepare.

I'm guessing most of you live in the future too. Whether it's predicting, forecasting, marketing, event-planning, networking, learning, educating...we are compelled to keep one foot in the future for the sake of success. But what happens when we come to the end of our lives and that one foot in the future becomes the metaphorical "one foot in the grave"? Planning and preparing take on a whole new spin. Things that seem so important when we're young and active are no longer pertinent.

I recently walked this journey with my mother. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in August. In the following months, her health rapidly deteriorated. Along with her health, her memory and cognitive functioning decreased. We were faced with many decisions. The most difficult was where and how she would spend her last days. Her possessions were reduced to what would fit into a shared room in the nursing home. But these concerns paled the morning of January 3rd, when I received the call that she was unresponsive. At this point, she could not even speak. Finally, her entire body gave up the fight as she breathed her last breath and fell into the arms of her eternal home.

That's what this passage expresses. The brevity of life. The length of eternity. The "things" of this life pass away, as I witnessed with my mother. Knowledge fades with age. Our minds grow dim. We forget. Even now, I forget where I put this or that! Sometimes I swear someone has taken my keys or my cell phone, only to discover they were right where I put them...if only I could remember where that was! This very morning as I sat down to write, I have no idea where I left my glasses yesterday. 

Knowledge, predicting, preparing, planning, speaking, prophesying...they will cease and pass away as the life within us ceases and passes away.  But LOVE goes with us to the heavens. It greets us at the pearly gates! It never leaves us or forsakes us. It's the legacy that we leave on earth beyond our grave. It's what I miss most about my mother. It's what my heart speaks in her loss. Love IS the greater gain for the greater good!

"The world and its desires pass away, but the man/woman who does the will of God lives forever (IJohn 2:17)."
The will of God is to LOVE! Love Him first and foremost. Love others in the way that you want to be loved.

We found this poem in my mother's bedroom.  She had cut it out of an old magazine and framed it. It appeared as a final love note to her children. Now I pass it on to you because LOVE IS OUR LEGACY!

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