2019 has so far been a year of many losses. I lost my great aunt, my mom’s good friend, and my boss (may they all rest in peace). Losses also came to me in the form of losing a mentor to a layoff, and losing a friendship. I think one of the most sorrowful losses I experienced this year was one that I saw coming: the death of our Lord during Lent.
This Easter was tough for many reasons. All of my losses seemed to fall one after another during Lent and afterwards. The most recent one was quite jarring for me.
I lost my boss this week. I write this in honour of him, who honoured my writing. He was a brilliant architect and an insatiable storyteller; a creative mind that couldn’t be contained. He understood me on that level, and that need to create something that changes the lives of others in whatever form that may take.
I don’t like funerals for obvious reasons. I sit there with a lump stuck in my throat that doesn’t seem to go away. It’s the kind you get when you try not to cry, and it swells up when you attempt to get out a few words. It feels like there is nothing in the world at that moment that can make the pain go away. You look at the faces of the people grieving, and you realize just how loved this person was. That there’s a love even death cannot conquer.
I can’t help but reflect on Jesus, and what it must have been like for Him, who had to die without a ‘loving’ send-off or a funeral. How lonely and devastating His death must have been. Yet he knew that His suffering would have purpose.
Through death I begin to understand what it means to honour someone else’s legacy. Oxford dictionary tells us that a legacy is “something left or handed down by a predecessor.”
What did Jesus leave us when he left this earth? He gave us forgiveness and salvation. As Christians, we understand that we cannot have those two things without love. Jesus left us with perfect love. Just like heirs to a throne, we are called to honour that legacy and pass it on. We pursue holiness through the cross – the passion of His perfect love He left us with.
I picture a brazen warrior suited in gleaming armor on a steed, taking down foes with her bare hands to defend and uphold the king’s legacy. Unfortunately, this is not typically what happens immediately when “moving on” from a great loss. There are days when we are indifferent. Days when we are angry. Days when we forget. Days when we grieve all over again.
At my beloved boss’ funeral, many beautiful tributes were shared, and the word “legacy” came up. They said that Brad Kennedy leaves us with a very important legacy. I anticipate that they might say he left us with his beautiful skyrises, his service to others or his humour.
Instead, 4 young adults walked up to the front of the stage.
His children. They are his legacy.
His beloved and wonderful children with character shaped by the man of integrity Himself. My boss left the world suddenly, but not without leaving us his pride and joy, and what one might say, his idea of perfect love itself.
Perhaps in some similar small or big way, we as children of God are a legacy. We have purpose upon being brought into this world. The legacy doesn’t end when the person leaves this earth. We continually deepen a relationship with a God that is not “physically” with us right? Just as the Kennedy children will not forget who their father was and what he did for this world.
The future holds a lot more for the people left behind by great tragedy, but I am also of another perspective. I think that part of moving on means never forgetting. It means looking back every once in a while to remember who came before us. Memories are powerful, in that there is a constancy to them. As if a snapshot was frozen in time. We draw on those memories to remind us how important it is to live for others. The resurrection of Jesus transcends this lifetime and the next, and as heirs to the kingdom, how do we make our father proud?
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. – Psalm 145:4
Alyssa is a lifelong Catholic who is passionate about serving and living single-minded for Christ. She is the eldest of 4 kids and daughter to a single mother. She loves writing and speaking (sometimes too much!) and she is determined to live as a “millennial” witness of God’s love by boldly sharing the faith.