A few years back, I spent a dream vacation in Scotland. While there, I went to Rosslyn Chapel, a 15th-century chapel located in the village of Roslin, better known as the church in the book and movie, The DaVinci Code.
As I walked through the cemetery grounds surrounding the beautiful historic structure, I was taken back by the century old headstones washed smooth by the elements of time. Names, dates, last words...disappeared, like a whisper in the woods.
I recalled learning about the first and second death in cognitive psychology. The first death is when we pass from our earthly existence, the second is when we also pass from the memory of those left behind. As I walked through this faceless place of remembrance, I came upon what seemed to be a third death; heavy etched rock - meant to serve as a marker to resurrect existence for when memory begins to fade - melted into soft rounded monuments of blank. In that moment, I was swallowed by a deep questioning I had not known before.
I am moved by our need to be remembered - to exist beyond the Alpha and the Omega. Even those who believe in eternal life yearn to leave a part of themselves behind.
And so, I wonder. If having eternal life is knowing God, why do so many see it as a way into heaven and not a way of living? If we live with purpose to know God now, every day, intimately, will we not know him better in the afterlife?
Likewise, if we see a legacy as something we do only when we die, what have we missed in living? Like God, those who love us want to be in intimate relationship with us - now. Not by money or possession, but by being known - truly known by you.
Perhaps leaving a legacy has nothing to do with money, property, memory, or even leaving? Perhaps a legacy isn’t a tangible marker, but something completely intangible? Perhaps it is the piece of you – a legacy seed - that you gift to others by way of making them feel known and loved. A seed planted so deep that it will never wash away, and will blossom with each season of generations to come?