Whether I realize it or not, my legacy is being written day by day. I thought nothing of this piece of advice when I was younger: live the way you want to be remembered. Somehow when I age, when my priority shifts from success to significance, I begin to give more thought to what I am leaving behind. What I learn immediately is that it is a matter that defies procrastination; even if I neglect it, it is being formed.
My brother-in-law Sim Lie's death taught me poignant lessons about legacy. Even though we were very close to him, there were parts of his life that only came to light during his funeral. We did not know he had sacrificed his time to renovate the homes of his primary school teacher, his friends who were cash-tight and the elderly mother of his childhood friend. He was skilled with his hands and he had used his gift to bless people who could not do home fixing on their own. We did not know he had invested in the lives of a small group of youths in the 1990s - leading them in worship, prayer, Bible study as well as shaping their characters and values. These youths have since become successful in their careers, matured into committed parents and leaders. From the eulogies and many testimonies, we discovered how Sim Lie had touched numerous lives with his loving kindness, magnanimity and humble servanthood. Unbeknownst to many, he had left his fingerprints on the lives he had loved and influenced.
In my work in the hospice movement, I observe the increasingly popular employment of legacy projects to help dying patients and their loved ones forge memories. These are noble attempts but inferior. Whether it be a scrapbook, photo album, recipe collection, they pale in comparison to the influence of love, godliness and wisdom etched by the dying on to the living.
It is never too early or too late to think about and do something about one's legacy. As for me, I am definitely not going to waste another day living mindlessly. Instead I will make effort to write the pages of my life's book each day that I am alive. I may be clueless with regards to the number of my remaining days but I am absolutely certain that each day that I have can be invested into the lives of those whom I love. I am inspired by the enormous legacy left behind by Sim Lie and will live towards leaving others inspired.