Monday, June 1, 2015

Gifts We Leave Behind

And through his [Abel's] faith, though he died, he still speaks.
Hebrews 11:4

When my husband I visited friends whose 57-year-old son had died suddenly two years ago, they gave us a CD of music their son had written and performed. How thankful I am that his family had taken time to collect samples of his work and to save them (on CD) for posterity. Their gift of his beautiful instrumental music has blessed me so much. For example, I feel such peace as I listen to his music while I’m writing or doing household tasks, etc.

That gift prompted me to think of other gifts I cherish, gifts created by persons who are now deceased: Mama’s hand-sewn aprons, crocheted blankets, handmade quilts; Ruby’s counted cross stitch plaque; B. B.'s quotes he wrote in beautiful calligraphy….

Even though their voices are silent now and their hands still, their lives still “speak” and continue to bless me through not only the memories I have of them but also through the physical things they took time to create/preserve for me.

As I reflected on their gifts, I wondered, What gifts am I preparing to leave behind for others?

I thought of several, all unfinished at this point. I’m reading through the Bible each year and highlighting certain words and phrases and making notes in the margins, as is my custom. During the many years I taught Sunday School, I used a New American Standard Bible (NASB) that featured wide margins, as well as study notes by Charles Ryrie. In 1997, church librarians, with whom I’d worked for several years, gave me a New Living Translation (NLT) as a parting gift when my husband and I moved away. I used it until this year (2015) when I purchased an English Standard Version (ESV) so I can more easily follow along as my pastor reads aloud Scripture passages during worship services. Thus, I have two Bibles ready to give to my grandchildren and a third Bible that will be marked from Genesis to Revelation by the end of this year (2015). However, since I have four grandchildren and only three Bibles, I pray the Lord lets me live at least long enough to prepare a fourth Bible to leave behind.

I’m also collecting all of my newspaper columns and publishing them in a series of books, which I plan to leave for my family. One book is finished (1984-1992). However, I still must prepare books of columns written between 1995 and the present (2015). That’s a huge project!

I also want to compile my poetry into book format, a lesser project, to be sure, but one I’d like to do.

I also want to digitize slides, photos, and videos so as to create a collection of family photo that will include the names and ages of the person(s) shown in the photos, along with brief notes about the events. Now, that’s the most challenging project of all since the pictures are in different formats and span a half-century!

How will I ever get all this done? By working a few minutes here, a few minutes there on a regular basis. But I will do that in order to leave behind gifts that will bless others!

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