Friday, December 28, 2012


General Anthony Wayne, Valley Forge, PA

As we wrap up another trip around the sun, news organizations are providing us with their retrospectives on the past year’s events and the passages of those of us they consider notables. A recent article observed that we all have our moments in time that define us. The article described some of these moments as the choices we make, the obstacles we surmount, the dreams we achieve or fall short of achieving, the people we love and in general how we respond to the challenges of life that we encounter. In essence, how we are remembered.

I noticed that even the most notable of folks didn’t merit much more than a short paragraph that succinctly summarized their time on the planet. The causes of death ranged from Larry Hagman with cancer and Andy Griffith with a heart attack; Vidal Sassoon died from natural causes and Tony Scott from suicide; Doc Watson succumbed to the complications of a fall while Steven Covey’s complications resulted from a bicycle accident. Rodney King whose beating resulted in the LA riots died unexpectedly from an accidental drowning while Ray Bradbury who was a prolific storyteller died after a long illness.

Rodney King will be remembered for asking “Can we all get along?” in the midst of the violence while Ray Bradbury wrote more than 600 short stories and 25 novels. Joe Paterno lived to 85 and had been credited as the winningest Division I coach in history, but most of his legacy was summed up as a pedophile enabler. Victoria Soto on the other hand was only 27 when she became the symbol of selfless heroism by losing her life shielding her young students. Whitney Houston had a meteoric rise to fame in the entertainment world while selling 13 million copies of her self-named CD. Yet her life and career spiraled down even faster in the wake of drug abuse, so that her final obit included the infamous quote “I make too much money to ever smoke crack…Crack is Wack”.

Most of us experience defining moments that are out of the bright lights and will never receive the national press of these celebrities, albeit just a paragraph. But those moments and our responses are of course nonetheless of great importance to our individual legacies. It could certainly be argued that there are equally important legacies of raising a child, assisting a student, mentoring a new employee, preparing a meal, caring for an aging parent, advocating for abused animals, modeling goodness, demonstrating love for others, etc. However, we shouldn’t obsess about the worthiness of our lives, but rather strive to be worthy in all we do, no matter how exalted or mundane in the eyes of men.

Fame and fortune are fleeting moments in time, but striving to walk in the Light on our life’s journey is the path to a timeless moment.

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