Legacy (What is ours to be)
Brethren I recently lost a friend of many years to a form of leukemia.
We were very close when our children grew up together and shared many common interests.
My thoughts were in a state of disbelief as I remembered happy memories, humorous times and sad times. And how this vibrant and essential part of my life should be no longer there. This friend was a teacher, an artist a musician a good husband and father. He would have made a good mason but we never really discussed it.
The loss of this friend affected me more than the death of my father although in a different way; because we shared the prime years of our life; sharing our children’s growth and development; our own passage to maturity. And a few wee drams along the way. This essential part of my life was gone.
And I continually thought now that he has gone what is his legacy. I will remember him for many things but what about others; the world in general. More to the fact what will be my legacy.
I feel like I’m missing something. What do I have to offer? What is my legacy?
I suppose that we all leave a legacy of some sort: Who we loved, whom we were loved by.
That is not insignificant.
But what about that part of all of us (or is it just me?) who wants to leave an indelible mark on the world? Is it even possible for us to do that?
I want to add beauty to the world, in words, in pictures, in deeds, but I also want you to know that I was here. That I lived. That I loved and breathed and screamed and laughed that I had successes and failures. I want to be remembered by people I will never know. Or maybe I want for something I’ve done to be remembered.
Either way, I want to matter on a grander scale than most of us realistically will in the end. I just don’t know how I will do it.
We read the words of so many dead authors while we earn our education; how many of those had an inkling that hundreds of years later they would be known the world over when, in their lives, their neighbor could scarcely remember their names?
Maybe the legacy we leave is not up to us. Maybe all we can do is do what we are called to do and let the rest fall into its natural place.
I have always researched my family history and wondered what their lives were like. Common working class people who struggled to make a living. Who experienced world wars and fought for their beliefs and freedom. Their legacy is a birth certificate, a death certificate and some faded photographs in my scrap book; their contribution to the world is lost in time. Am I living the life they wished for me; am I walking in their shadows and footsteps. Am I living the future they worked for?
What do you want people to say about you after you are no longer living? What is your legacy?
What will the history books say of you? Will you have a paragraph; or a whole book dedicated to the contribution you have made to the world and humanity?
What will your legacy be? Legacy has a very vague definition. A legacy can be anything left behind from a predecessor or ancestor. Most commonly, when we hear people refer to a legacy they are referring to the whole of someone’s life after they have passed on; another way of looking at legacy is how a person lived their life . . . what would the history books say about them? It’s weird to think about and maybe kind of depressing, but what do you want people to say about you when you are gone? What are people going to say at your funeral? These are critical questions to leading a life of magnificence, a life of achievements, a life filled with satisfaction. The life we lead today will be the legacy we leave tomorrow. Are we making a daily advancement and improving our lives and those about us.
( Adapted from Jelle Hermus)
Are we Shaping the future
You will decide what the future looks like. Or at least for yourself and the things that you can have a direct effect on. If you want to.
You just might end up having a lot to do with how the future is going to be. Perhaps you will be responsible for a major breakthrough in science, business, art, technology or society in general. You might just end up becoming the leader of our great fraternity – or maybe you won’t.
The question is: What will you choose to do? What will be the impact you make on our society. What will be your unique contribution?
It’s possible that you don’t believe in leaving a legacy. Or maybe you’ve never even considered it. Life goes the way it goes, we all know that. You do your thing, go to work, solve problems, worry a little, and think about the upcoming year. Useful things for sure, part of everyday life.
But what happens when you look beyond that? What story should circulate in the online archives about you 300 years from now? “Nice person, lived in the beginning of the 21st century, was master of his lodge, really innovative”? How do you want to be remembered? What will be the legacy you will leave?
Just think about it. Of course, it doesn’t matter what you do, because one day everything will have disappeared. But what do you want to do until then? What do you want to do for the generations that are still to come? For the thousands of people that might come after you? What is the world you want them to live in?
Are you actively working towards a new tomorrow?
Everyday life is impressive. All kinds of things happen, you do many things and you want it all. It’s interesting how your life can be all about the details. Once you take a step back and think about your legacy, things will suddenly move into perspective. You realize that you’re part of something bigger, that there might be more meaning to your life than you were expecting. As part of our great fraternity you learn and are encouraged to make a difference; not only in your life but the lives of all.
Are you living the life that connects to the life you want to leave as a legacy? How do you spend your days? What is it that you do for your own future, for the future of your children and grandchildren, for humanity? What would change if you could align your daily life with this?
- You would fight for a better economy, and even taking the first steps to really make it happen.
- You would strive for a more loving world, and start with this yourself by spreading love every day.
- You want to offer your (grand) children and all the other generations tons of opportunities, that would move you to stimulate wisdom and curiosity in your children.
- You would manage your money in a different way so that in the future you will have more freedom and opportunities.
- You would actively switch to renewable sources of energy; you would eliminate your negative impact on the planet and turn it into a positive one.
- You would want to use your talents to make the world a better place. You would decide to pick up activities that match this vision.
- You would strive to make a daily advancement in your own knowledge.
- You would cheerfully embrace the opportunity of exercising charity.
You would live your life aligned with your Masonic values and the things that you believe matter the most. That way you contribute on a daily basis to the legacy that you want to create. To live following the moral teachings of freemasonry would indeed assist you in realizing a lasting and meaningful legacy.
So ask yourself: What is the impact I will leave? What can I do for this world? How can I serve humanity? And go out and do something. Don’t just think about it – actually make things happen. Start anywhere, it doesn’t matter how. Just do something. The world needs you!
Make a mark on the world leave it with your own personal signature.
I always hoped that part of my legacy to my grandchildren would be that you don’t need to grow up; it’s not mandatory. Grow old you can’t help that; but never grow up. Play, enjoy, have fun all of your life….. Leave your mark on the world and be remembered with a smile.
I haven’t decided how I want to be remembered. All I know is that I want to be remembered for me; for my being; for my heart. I want to be remembered with a smile.
I know the likelihood of earning significant amounts of money are impractical, the idea of saving a life is pretty improbable, inventions that save the world and nobody can be without haven’t came to mind yet, and the probability of becoming that astounding athlete is unfeasible. This body is not built for athletic world records.
For some reason, we tend to seek immediate popularity. Validation. Recognition. And sure, that is interesting. Merely interesting. But what lasts is what is intriguing to me. What lives beyond us after we leave a room; after someone puts down your book; after they no longer follow you on Twitter or face book.
I’ve learned-that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you treated them and made them feel.
What ideas. Inspiration. Information. Character. Which of these stays with them.
Changes effects their actions in small ways, even years later. Decades later. And how do their actions and attitudes affect those around them. From generation to generation.
Your legacy. At once hidden in tiny actions. But profound in how it has shaped people’s lives.
What you are is not what is seen. It is what lies below the surface.
What do you want to be known for? There will be a day when your name will be in the paper. Your story will be told by someone, and the words and deeds you have done will be described, briefly or in great detail. What do you want them to say about you? They will say something.
Did you leave a mark on every person you encountered? Did you walk tall and every word you spoke, every facial expression you showed, every physical movement you made make an impression on someone? What will they say? What do you want them to say?
Every person carves their own headstone – with the weight of their own deeds, with the chisel of their words. Your final epitaph will not be decided by family or friends. It will be written by you, written in the memories of the people you brush by every day. You will touch them, gently or harshly, in love or indifference, for good or for evil and your touch will engrave your name on their lives. Those impressions will be your mark on the world. What will it be?
Now maybe I’m being selfish when I consider my own legacy. We as masons must think of what we collectively leave as the future of our Masonic legacy.
We are heirs to the legacy that our brethren left for our generation. It is therefore our obligation to provide for its responsible stewardship for future generations of Masons. What are we doing to ensure that our great fraternity is sustainable for generations to come?
We must leave a Masonic heritage fused with a sense of pride, a sense of power and connection; an unforgettable legacy.
If we are losing more members than we are taking in we should consider our legacy to be lost. We will very quickly be unable to function due to lack of membership. What would the world be without freemasonry.
We are the builders of our future and as such must invest now in those that are going to carry our great Brotherhood forward.
We must work with determination and zeal to leave a great and lasting Masonic legacy.
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. (Pericles)
Know first that you have absolutely no power to change the world, and then address all your energies and intent toward improving it.
(Jonathan Lockwood Huie): Brethren today is tomorrows history. Today is one small paragraph in the legacy we will leave individually and collectively. Today is when we should work on the future of masonry as we see it; our legacy.
Now my grandkids and their kids are the greatest Legacy I can leave the world they can disperse the wisdom of their grandpa to the world. I hope I leave them with fond and lasting memories. Lots of laughs and one great pile of love.
Brethren I cannot finish tonight without some words on the changes that are coming to your lodge. Change is painful we all worry about the unknown; but view change as a joyous thing. To not change and remain in stagnation is equivalent to death. Nothing can be accomplished by not moving forward.
Charles Darwin said:
“It is not the strongest of the species
that survives, nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change.”
Here is Action list for letting go to get going: (Cat O’connor)
Accept. Accept your history and the people that have been a part of your history; accept your circumstances and remember that none of these define you. Acceptance is the first step to letting go and setting yourself free. Learn that: carrying negativity, anger or animosity burdens no one but you.
Empty your cup. Consciously and actively work at letting go of your story; your judgments and ideals, the material things, all your stuff. They do not make you stronger, healthier or more powerful. Pour out your expectations of how, who, where and what you should be as they, too, are part of a story that holds you back from simply being.
Align. Take a moment (or several: you’re worth the time) to write down the following:
- Your core beliefs/values
- Your Life Goals
- The actions that you are taking to pursue those goals.
Now take an honest look at your core beliefs/values and determine whether or not they align with your future goals and actions. If not, ask yourself: is it time to create new core beliefs, set new goals OR take new action? What actions must you take to align your actions with your beliefs in order to attain your goals?
Flex. Set goals and work toward them. But if you are flexible — that is, willing to let go of the end result — aligning your goals and true purpose with the greater good is righteous action. Be flexible; allow the path to unfold as it will, opening up to opportunities. Flex and flow with the current of life.
Contribute. When you find yourself lamenting about your past or angry about your present or brooding about your future, find a way to making someone’s day better. Offering a smile to someone as you pass, opening a door, these simple actions can have impact and help you to put your situation into perspective. Contributing to the well-being of others is the best way to align with your true self. Always remain positive.
Believe in yourself. Believe in your purpose. Believe that the universe is unfolding as it should and that you have a role to play. Believe that holding on does nothing in fact but hold you back from that purpose.
Love the process. Have fun. Be playful, cheerful and positive. Give power to positivity. Love yourself, love others and love this life. It is a gift to unwrap each and every day, to gaze upon with new and excited eyes.
Be grateful. Be true. Once you have taken all of these actions, just be.
Here’s to letting go of the past and embracing the future.
Brethren you are moving forward to another start in your Masonic journey but above all you are still masons.
“Have Courage (You Have No Choice)”
As you all know I have the greatest grandkids in the world.
One evening my grandson Owen was talking to me about current events. Owen asked me what I thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.
I replied, ‘Well, let me think a minute, when I was growing up:
- There were two channels on the television if you had a television.
- Only one in five households had a washing machine.
- Only one in ten households had a telephone and only one in 20 had a fridge.
- Back in 1950 Scotland was only just getting television for the first time and only 11 per cent of the British population had access to a television.
People paint a picture of a time when there was less crime, but the fact is that you could leave your door open then because you had nothing worth stealing.
- They just started polio shots
- You couldn’t buy frozen foods
- There was no Xerox machines …… Owen; asked me what a Xerox machine was
- No contact lenses
- No Frisbees and
- No such thing as the pill
- There was no:
- credit cards
- laser beams or
- ball-point pens; yes at school we dipped our pens in an ink well
- My parents did not have a phone or a car
- Man had not invented:
- home air conditioners
- clothes dryers
- all the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and Monday was wash day
- man hadn’t yet walked on the moon.
- For amusement we had a soccer ball, a bicycle and an outside that we were told to use frequently.
- Your Grandmother and I got married first, and then lived together! Every family had a father and a mother! And mothers were generally home when we got home.
- Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, ‘Sir’. And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, ‘Sir.’
- I gave my seat in the bus to women or older people.
- I held doors open for them as well
- We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, day-care centers, and group therapy.
- Our therapy for what ailed you was a good stiff kick in the butt from your father and a lecture on how you were not going to amount to anything, you should join the army that would smarten you up.
- Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, which we all knew; good judgment, and common sense! We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. Discipline and punishment were given swiftly by our fathers; and accepted.
- Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent!
- Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins!
- Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums. We walked to church as a family; yes we all went to church and ate meals together. That was all nine of us.
What age am I Owen I’m in my 60’s; boy has life changed. Has it improved? You be the judge of that.
Now Owen also told me that he knew god’s real name and it was Howard; how do you get that I asked’ he answered “Our father who art in heaven Howard be thy name”
Brethren I thank you for your attention and warm hospitality. Proudly be part of the legacy we leave.
Go home phone your Kids and hug your grandkids.
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