Actually, you don’t have to plan such a thing. The kind of person you are; the kind of person you will become; the kind of person you will be remembered as, will echo off the walls of your descendants’ lives for generations to come – even if your life is a short one.
There is a reference in the Old Testament, more of a proverb than anything else, which says the sins of a father are visited on the children, the grandchildren, and down three or four generations. In other words, your life will roll down through history and land at the feet and on the backs of those who come behind you: For good or for bad.
In our “what have you done for me lately world,” where time is measured by quarterly dividend reports or in two-year election cycles, we forget that the fruit of one’s life may reach maturity only after many years, decades, or even centuries. It could be that those whom we will never meet, those who will walk in our footsteps generations from now, will be the ones to gain the most from the lives we have led.
So when I read my great-grandmother’s obituary, I am thankful; thankful for her and the ones who have gone before me. I am grateful that those who never dreamed of me or my children, made decisions and lived in a way that bettered our future. And all this reminds me, challenges me, and humbles me that as the generations proceed, whether I like it or not, others will rely upon me and you for the same.
Is Ola’s yellowed obituary filled with as much wistfulness and nostalgia as it is with faith? Yes. On this Mother’s Day weekend, is it all a bit melodramatic? Probably. But this truth remains: Your life will outlive you. Make it a good one.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author.