I will not have a legacy. I realize that when my future grandchildren or maybe great-grandchildren are no longer here, neither will be the memory of me. I am but a wisp of smoke.
You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. -James 14:14
To think of ourselves as so temporary can be disheartening, but it can also be incredibly freeing. If I am so soon forgotten, my woes of today seem much less serious. Accepting this truth has begged a question: if I am inconsequential in the bigger picture, what do I live for?
You. I live for you. I find meaning and purpose in the daily interactions I have with all whom I encounter. From you, my dear reader, to the cashier at the grocery store this morning, to my boys, to my friends, to Quincy Elementary students, staff and families, I live for my interactions with you. Knowing that tomorrow doesn’t matter nearly as much as I like to think it does helps me better focus on today.
In full disclosure, I also live for me. We are innately selfish creatures and although I’d like to believe that my desire to connect with as many people as possible is truly altruistic, I receive more than I give in every interaction.
I live for this idea: I believe that we can be more for each other. I believe that we can be more for ourselves. I believe that our story can be one of grace, compassion, and joy rather than fear, judgement, and sorrow. There will always be difficult times, this life will always present its own challenges. Sometimes it seems as if we are throwing additional challenges in each other’s way at every turn. It does not have to be this way.
I am but a wisp of smoke, here today and maybe gone tomorrow. My hope is that, as Thoreau so eloquently said, my aroma enhances the general sweetness of the atmosphere.
Behave so the aroma of your actions
may enhance the general sweetness
of the atmosphere.
—Henry David Thoreau