Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What do we leave when we leave.....

On legacy....what consitutes a legacy?  We all have things that we 'do' during our time on earth, whether that time is very short or very long.  We all have things we accumulate, too, from fancy china to quirky collections to real estate.  What does any of it mean?  What is the purpose?  How important is our legacy?  How do we get one?

I have been following a really great blog about a little boy that passed before he turned five years old.  His life, and subsequent passing, have touched more lives than some people ever do in a very long lifespan.  What is it that determines what our legacy is?

Is it moxie?  Caring?  Sight?  What makes some people reach out to the world, while others stay locked up in a shell and never really grab anyone?  Are they better people than the rest of us?  Are they smarter?  Are they more interesting?  Is legacy reserved for those with wealth?  Experience?  Connections?  Does the afterworld care who we knew or how much we made?

I have to wonder if the difference isn't truth.

Even though this young boy wasn't able to speak for himself, his mom spoke for him, and very eloquently.  This made people relate to his story and find themselves in the words.  She spoke his truth.  The good, the bad, and the ugly of it.  Here was a child who was unable to speak, not old enough to even ride a bike yet, will never vote or drive a car, and still has influenced so many people.  For no other reason than that he had a story to tell.  A great, big, sad, event-filled story.  That his mom took the time to tell.

I have come into contact, as of late, with many adults who are in charge of our son's care, who have found lying to just be a way of life for them.  How do people get this way?  Is it because no one ever called them on their behaviors?  Is it because lying pays dividends?  Is it because they were raised to lie to get ahead?  Whatever the reason, it must work for them, or they would change their behavior, right?

Somehow, in the limited religious and spiritual scope of my upbringing, I came out of it with a sense of "do right by others."  What is that?  I'm not sure where it came from.  I'm not a good person myself.  I swear, I'm lazy, I get tired, I take the easy way out at times, and I don't work hard at everything I do.  But, I do try to do right by others.  When I walk into a store and the rug is flipped up at the corner?  I lay it back down so no one after me will trip.  When I see someone being wronged, I do everything possible to make it right.  When my son has needs to be tended to, I tend to them.  When someone asks my opinion, I give it.

I think honesty might be intrinsic.  Of course, it has to be learned, too, to some extent, but I don't know how there can be so many dishonest adults if it is just a learned behavior, alone.  Because even those with the worst upbringing would have come into contact with someone along the way who tried to teach them right from wrong.  Who tried to show them telling a lie just breeds more lies.  There would have had to have been someone with a conscience, a moral compass, a SOUL who would have pulled these people aside as youngsters and explained right and wrong to them.  I believe enough in the goodness of people to believe that would have happened.

So that leaves us with intrinsic.  Intrinsic--defined as:  "belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing," "Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent."  What really makes up a person, on the inside?  Is it the influence of things outside?  Or the very nature, in the center of our being, our very GUT, if you will, that determines who we are and how we act?  If it is, how do we influence it in others?

I suggest maybe we can't.  Maybe some people are just destined to be liars, and that is, in effect, who they are at the core of their being.  Do they sleep well at night?  Probably, because I find that people who live by their own set of skewed values usually see no wrong in their behavior.  They find themselves to be doing fine, judging by their own set of rules, which may be so deviant as to cause most of us to gasp if we were allowed to view their set list of rules.

It is unfortunate that so many like-minded individuals seem to be running the show for our son's care right now.  But, it is also very telling.  Liars seem to attract other liars.  It's an unspoken thing; a scent, if you will.  All a person can do is wonder what these people will be leaving behind?  Perhaps these people are great to their own families....maybe they are awesome bowlers; great gardeners; dog-lovers....maybe they even donate to charity on occasion or go to church.  But are they good people?  

I dare to say, that might be the most important thing we leave behind.  Our goodness.  Our rightness.  Our moral compass/values/ethics/intrinsic worth.  Maybe that is the gift, folks.  Let's see more people try to polish that and put it on their mantle.