As we are headed into Mother’s Day I was reminiscing about my own mother. At 88, her death was sudden, but not unexpected. She and Dad were sitting quietly together on Friday evening after a day of activities together. They were married for 62 years. For most of those years, Dad was the pastor of the little Mennonite church in Johnsville, Ohio.
Mom never had a job title outside our home – VP, CFO, and CEO were not attractive to her. Her formal education ended with the 8th grade. But her life touched thousands. At her funeral we displayed a few selected quilts, “quiet books”, photos of cakes and other examples of her special ways of giving to her family, friends and community. On the floral spray we had ribbons celebrating her most memorable titles – “wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.” My son, her oldest grandchild, gave the eulogy. He talked freely about her special attributes, her sense of humor and her unique ways of teaching and shaping our lives. Six grandchildren shared the honor of being her pallbearers.
At times like those we are all reminded the importance of re-assessing what is important. Personal tragedy or times of loss force us to look more closely at what our lives are really accomplishing. Yes, our jobs and positions are important, but are probably not what we will be remembered for. Rather, those acts of kindness, times spent with our spouses, children, parents, and friends, are what will be recalled when we are gone. Stephen Covey, in “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” says we all need “to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.”
What are you doing to leave a legacy? How is your life making a difference in the world? As important as our careers are, keep in mind that our work is simply one tool for a successful life. Don’t ignore building “success” in your family, socially, physically, spiritually and in personal development as well. Clara Rosa Miller, with no degrees, no titles, and no bestowed credentials, was one of the most “successful” and classy women I have ever known. Today I have a beautiful little granddaughter named Clara in her honor. This Clara also loves baking and is beginning to build her own legacy by providing her treats to attendees at the Sanctuary live events. I will celebrate Mother’s Day knowing my Mom’s wonderful legacy will move down through generations forever.