Do you ever fear that your existence is temporary? That you’ll be forgotten once you leave this world? Such a sad thought, isn’t it? I once had a close friend tell me that their biggest fear in life is that once they die, that’s it. That they will just fade into nothingness and their life will be forgotten as though it never meant a thing. At the time I had no idea what to say to them so I did the only thing I could and listened hoping this would comfort them. However, that very emotional conversation stuck with me and I’ve never forgotten it. I think we all have that same fear to a degree. It doesn’t matter how faithful you are or how successful you feel you are in life. Eventually, we all die and a new fate that has never been scientifically proven ensues. There’s so many questions regarding this unknown like do we go to heaven and become angels, are we reincarnated into another living creature or maybe our bodies become the dirt we walk on and all awareness of our self-vanishes without a trace. Believing in God myself, I could’ve tried to comfort my friend with my belief that there is a beautiful and eternal heaven but faith is not something that you can convince someone of.
I can’t forget how much it hurt to hear someone close to me tell me they were afraid of being forgotten. We are all here for a reason. And while no one seems to be able to come up with a definite answer to the infamous question “What’s the meaning of life?” I do know that to matter is to be remembered and to be alone is to be forgotten. What I would have told my friend given another chance is this…
We are all given unique gifts that we can use to make a difference in the world. This is our legacy and way of being remembered here forever. We use our gifts to touch the lives of others and leave our permanent imprint. Sadly though, too many people think that their ability to be remembered is measured by their materialistic success such as money, career titles and other possessions. There are a lot of people out there who think having a prestigious job title is how they will be remembered so their job title becomes who they are. Being remembered, leaving a legacy is not about the materialistic possessions or the titles you gain in your life. It’s about uncovering the unique gifts that have been entrusted to you and the way you use them to touch the lives of others.
Since I was a young child, I’ve always known that writing is a gift I have but so many times I almost gave up on it because certain people told me it was a waste of time. I remember while I was still married, I would get up at 4 in the morning and start writing before my then husband had a chance to tell me I was being selfish because I could be cleaning or spending time with my kids instead of indulging in my writing. I almost came to believe him but inside I felt this deep desire to keep writing because I knew I could help others by writing. So I followed my heart and I kept writing.
Your legacy is your gift to the world. Do what feels good to you, what feels true. Listen to your heart and follow it even when logic and society disagree because they don’t know what’s best for you. You do! And when you’re on the path of what is best for you, this is when you inspire and change the lives of others. This is how you leave your legacy, by following your heart.
Each small move starts a ripple. Everything you do, every move you make starts a forever process, a motion of energy whether it is psychological or physical in the world. So make it count! It’s like our lives put together is one big ocean and every move you make is a ripple in this ocean. These ripples are powered by your heart. The truer you are to it, the bigger the ripple. Take for instance, Albert Einstein. When Albert was a young boy, he loved to ask questions! So much so that he was constantly getting in trouble in class and even received failing grades in school. But his intense curiosity was feeding his legacy and he stayed true to it by learning about the universe in his own unique way and sharing his knowledge with the rest of us. What he’s done with his life has led to countless breakthroughs in the science world and still going. Years ago he set a ripple in the ocean of life that will never die out.
One ripple becomes another. How do you want to change the world? For me, I want people to feel less alone. So I write about my experiences in life so that others can read about them and relate, when someone is talking to me about their life, I make it a point to really listen to them and show them I care, I smile at strangers with all my heart and I have a career in healthcare where I’m given the chance to help save lives all the time. These things all give me a chance to help people feel less alone in a world full of selfishness. And every time I help someone feel less alone, I set a change that is passed on; energy so to speak and as you know, energy never dies out. It only changes form. Maybe it’s that I wrote an article that inspired a mother in an abusive relationship where she and her children were being beaten every day to have the courage to walk away and start a new life. Now her children can grow up knowing they’re worthy of a happy life because of their mothers courage and their children grow up happy and the legacy goes on and on. What if that mother hadn’t read my article that day and stayed in the relationship or delayed leaving? More pain would have been endured and things could’ve turned out differently. My writing set a ripple that became her ripple that became her children’s and so on and so on and it will continue on, never to die out (true story).
In a universe so big that our intelligent minds can’t even imagine the size of it, it’s hard to feel like we matter enough. We don’t see how our smallest of deeds change the world forever but what you do does matter. There isn’t another person out there in this vast universe that is exactly like you. Even if you take into consideration the statistical possibilities that somewhere out there, there is another human with your genetic makeup, they still have not lived your exact life. You are unique and your existence plays a part no matter how big or small in the existence of not only our world but our universe. There’s not a single person out there like you who can set in motion the ripples from your heart. There’s not a single person out there who can touch the lives of others in the unique way you can. You may not always see how you’ve changed the lives you’ve touched forever but the next time you do something for someone else, pay attention to how you feel inside because you can certainly feel it. You do matter and your very existence has changed the universe forever and in that very sense, your life will never be forgotten so make it count and touch as many lives as you can. Start as many ripples as you can.