“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Earlier this year I went to a funeral and ever since I’ve been thinking about the significance of a person’s life. At a funeral, you see people whose lives have been touched by the deceased person and it’s a significant weaving.
The Powerpoint presentation images scroll by and tell the story of the person who has passed on. But the story isn’t a story without the stories of the other people in the photos, without the eulogies spoken by friends, family, community members, and colleagues.
It struck me that we are writing our legacies every day as we relate to others in our work and community and as we love our family and friends.
We are meant to give our lives away–to causes, to our family, to friends in need, to lasting relationships. Paradoxically, it’s only by giving away our gifts and time that we make our lives meaningful.
The time we spend playing with a child or grandchild, chatting with a bedridden friend, coaching a sports team, supporting a friend, or serving those in need in our community cannot be measured in dollars but is priceless.
Significance is about what we leave behind and what we leave behind is linked to the people who come behind–the people whose lives we’ve sown into. All that lasts is what you pass on.
Sometimes it’s not our own achievements that are our greatest, it’s the people who come behind us who achieve significance because of the part we’ve played in the weaving of their lives.
I’ve never been great at sewing and I can’t knit, but weaving my life into others’ lives, and hopefully inspiring those who are coming behind, is a pretty great way to live.