no man (or woman) is an island

Legacy.  It’s a funny word and a funny concept.  Everyone wants to leave one, everyone wants to believe that they have left a mark on the world in which they live.  We all want to know that if we leave – it will be noticed.
I’ve seen legacies made.  Good ones, hard ones, ones that have that rippling effect to everyone they meet.  But most often, you don’t recognize the legacy in the moment, you see it later on, when the person has left and you see the impact they made on the community.
When I became a Christian, I remember looking up to all the amazing Christian women in my life.  I remember clearly watching their faith journey’s closely in order to find a pattern.  Something I could mimic, some sort of formula that helped me understand how they became so strong, so full of faith.
I would take note of their spiritual practices and then apply them into my own life.  Early morning bible reading, pages and pages of journaling, hospitality, hours of prayer, listening to Christian music in the car…  In my mind I thought, if I apply their principles into my own life, then I’ll end up with a faith like theirs.
A few weeks ago, before graduation, all the graduates went to our denominational headquarters to have dessert with our president and receive our Books of Worship and Hymnals.  During the presentation, he challenged us to think of someone who has greatly impacted our faith and rename ourselves after them, the way the Pope does when he is named.  We were told to come up and say ours without explanation – “Pope _____________”.
So I started thinking.  I’ve had an amazing amount of mentors, friends and authors that have impacted my faith.  But my mind kept coming back to the wife of the couple I currently live with, so I said her name when I went up there.  Later that night I was telling her about it and telling her about how I’ve learned so much by living with her this year and am amazed at her faith and she said something really profound to me. 

She told me about how when her husband was first called to ministry and she saw all these women in the church who had such amazing gifts of hospitality and caring.  How they all could cook these amazing meals and provide for people who were in need.  And how she never thought she could do the things they did, but that over the years she learned how to do it in her own way.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is it.  The key to understanding legacy within community.  Community is all about learning from one another, impacting one another.  When I see those women who have qualities that I admire, I have to figure out my own way of getting there, working on them.  I cannot assume that I can apply their formula on my life because I am not created the same way as they are –  I have to find my own formula.
Which is the beauty of community.  Living alongside of others helps see who we want to become or how we want to behave.  It’s human nature with a divine inspiration.

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