I faced that towering granite mountain today. I went to see my dad play Santa at my niece’s school which sits in plain view of Stone Mountain. I was grateful my sweet friend Sarah joined me so I would not be alone.
As we drove away after what was a fun time of laughing over my dad and the kids’ reactions, I gave that mountain another glance in my rear view. I thought to myself, “he’s not here.”
It’s Tony’s 38th birthday, but he’s not here at the mountain where he spent his final moments of this life. He’s not. Just like he wasn’t at the park in Alpharetta where we took our engagement photos; I passed near it this morning on my way to a meeting. He’s not at the Starbucks where we spent so much time chatting about life. He’s not in Buckhead where we shared so many date nights in the early days of our relationship. He’s not. He’s not here.
It got me to thinking about the time we as humans spend here on this earth, spinning our wheels, scurrying from one place to the next, going about our days like we’ll be here again tomorrow and the next, planning for the future, wishing away the present, regretting the past. We give little to no thought about not being here, no longer being on this earth; we are too busy trying to control our lives to worry about what we leave behind when we are no longer here to control it. What will people say about us? What will people do with what we stood for and the things we leave behind? And for those of us who believe in Jesus, what will God say about how we spent our days on this earth?
I mean, who wants to dwell on questions like that? I realize I’m being quite a downer here. But when I really think about it, and as I reflect on what Tony left behind, the only thing that’s left is a fancy little word: legacy.
I love this quote by Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’ve spent the last few hours of Tony’s birthday digging through a box of letters that he gave me over our 3 and a half years together. To be honest, I had forgotten about some of the sweetest notes he gave me; gosh, as I’ve said before, he was quite the romantic. And in reading over his journal entries about our early dates, I had forgotten about some of the amazing things we did together. Still, it doesn’t take a box of letters or even a picture for me to recall with vivid emotion just how he made me feel:
He left me with a legacy of knowing what it was like to be extravagantly loved.
And as much as I miss him, as much as I wish he were here, I can’t help but be deeply grateful for such an amazing gift. For I know that if my Tony, as a mere man, was that “crazy” about me and loved me that much, I know my Great God loves me thousands upon thousands and infinitely more. He’s crazy about me; He’s crazy about us all.
And that, that, will continue to be the greatest gift my Tony could ever leave behind for me as his wife. And that’s what now spurs me on to intentionally invest in my own legacy.
Dearly loved, carrying Tony’s legacy,