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Legacy

Posted: April 10, 2013 3:27 p.m.
Updated: April 12, 2013 5:00 a.m.

What do your waking hours mean to the spinning earth? Can you tilt the axis, change the seasons, speed up or slow down the day or night? Can you manipulate tides or winds or clouds or storms? Do you have a part to play in the saga that is your life? Do you have a vote in the outcome of your own legacy?

My brothers and I, like most siblings, have many bonds. We enjoy the same stories and memories and experiences of our common upbringing; we relish in the same triumphs and glaze over the same hardships; we give each other knowing smiles. We are very similar and very different. We see the world through a prism made up of our unique experiences and our like foundation.

And we do know what our waking hours mean to the spinning earth. We cannot change the seasons or speed up the day and night. We cannot manipulate tides and winds and clouds and storms. We do, however, have a vote in our own legacy. We know this through the life and through the death of our father.

It is funny how goodness endures. It is remembered. It is appreciated. It is valued. When there is nothing else, it remains. It is not swayed or affected by winds of change or condition. It holds no grudge or partiality. It either is or it is not. It is the most powerful thing on earth.

My brothers and I were blessed with a father who was good. He was really nothing else. This may seem somewhat of a sad commentary, but it is not. It is, and has been, a blessing. Our dad has been dead for 23 years, but it does not seem so. I say this not because we still grieve. We do not. I say this because, in many ways, he still does … live.

It is quite powerful to see someone’s mind start to flicker at the mention of a person’s name, to see the eyes brighten, to watch the synapses connect in the brain and the smile form. It is powerful to have someone you have never met grab your elbow and tell you what your father meant to them and that he was “good.” My brothers and I have this experience often, even after 23 years. We almost joke with each other: “Hey, man, I had a ‘dad’ experience today. You would not believe what happened.” These experiences are priceless to a child, and although we are all in our 40s, we are still children to a father who died at 58 years old.

This experience is not unique to us. We are also not too jaded to think that our father had no flaws, no enemies, no skeletons. We do, however, understand the power and the appreciation and we have been lucky enough to be front row witnesses to the effect of this wonderful human condition.

We, as a whole, all still seek goodness. We long for it. We strive for it. It is one of the strands of our human DNA. We never quite get there, however, but although we all fall short, the power is in the seeking, in the longing, in the striving, in the failing. We notice this in each other.

Our dad was powerful, but we are all powerful. We do all have a vote in our own legacy. And the spinning earth turns on our waking hours.

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