Those Shoes

“I can try on these ones, right? That’s fine, but not those shoes.”

Correct. Not those ones.

Those ones belonged to her and now they belong to me. They are the best pair I own. Not because they are a certain brand or cost more than others, although they are a very good pair of shoes.

Those shoes were meant for someone else. Someone kind and wise and good who didn’t get a chance to wear them.

The owner of those shoes knew how to make you feel like the smartest person in the room. She listened with focused attention and compassion. There was no judgement, but she could challenge your thinking and loved you even if you didn’t see eye to eye.

She was the organizer of book clubs and prayer journals and pushed us to self-reflect. She valued friendships, relationships, and sincere dialogue.

She was my friend.

She would often arrive early to life group at our home and we would steal a few minutes to unload the frustrations of dealing with our loved ones. We talked about parenting and screen time policies and balancing the demands of family and work life. And she asked good questions about faith and God. It was a time I enjoyed and now I cherish.

Those shoes belonged to someone who was quick to tell you what she admired about you, who freely handed out hugs and arm squeezes. She loved cozy sweaters, chocolate, tea, and wine.  Oh, and camping, but I can overlook that.

She is gone, but not entirely.

See, those shoes belonged to someone with vast circles of friends. With her passing those circles have expanded and connected to create a web of relationships. When her girls get together I learn about her crazy summer adventures, her time as a new mom, and how she has impacted so many lives. Her legacy lives on in every telling of those memories.

Those shoes were bought by someone I wish I had had more time with.

So no, son, you can try on any of the shoes in my closet. Have fun, tease me about my fashion choices, hobble around in high heels, but leave those shoes.

Those shoes are special.

 

What’s Your Legacy?

I am insignificant.

I cannot name the hometown of grandmother. I don’t know the names of my great-grandparents. I could not tell you how many siblings my grandpa had. Those people are insignificant, too. Yet without them, I would not be here. They are insignificant, but important.

There are four young boys who call me “Mommy” and I matter to them. My attitude, choices, and example influence theirs. But their grandchildren will think of me in passing, if at all.

Every day I interact with more than two hundred students in my role as teacher. I matter to them, but their own children will not hear about that teacher who held their hand when they were scared or helped them learn to be a friend. I matter, but I’m insignificant.

I am insignificant, but important, influential. I will leave a legacy. We all will.

What will that legacy be?

Opa dancing on the back deck with his granddaughters creates memories of fun and silliness. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Fishing trips with Dad let you know that a favourite pastime is better when shared with someone you love. Relationships matter.

Being ridiculous and crazy and uninhibited with your children teaches that life is to be lived joyfully. Small things have a big impact.

Serving others and sacrificing for a greater purpose says that there is more to this life.

Going for that bike ride with your son fulfils the promise you made. Honour your commitments and live with integrity.

What you choose to do here may seem insignificant, but it has a lasting impact. You will leave a legacy. Intentional or not. Planned or not. Purposeful or not. We will all leave a legacy.

The legacy will go on long after we have left this earth. What will yours be?