August – 2020

More Teachable Moments
Taken from the story “The Cemetery”

What comes to your mind when you hear the word cemetery or how do you feel when you see one? I have a chapter in my book called “The Cemetery” and those memories reflect how I felt when I helped with the maintenance work. For me, the cemetery was a learning station. People came and placed flowers on the graves, and as I watched, I wondered why? Who were these people who were six feet under me? I enjoyed reading the epitaphs and took notice of the dates on the tombstones. I learned a cemetery is full of history, and the stone monument revealed a lot about the person if only a few words.  

 I can’t help but reflect on John Lewis, who just died. We remember him for many good reasons. He encouraged everyone to do what is right. He was a person of stature, authentic, an American hero who stood his ground for justice, non-violence and peace. His legacy will go down in history, and his spirit will live on forever. He was a leader for all ages and remarkable human being. The more I heard about his story, the more I smiled. I even heard we had something in common! He preached to the chickens when he was young, and I taught the chickens when I was growing up. Those experiences might have helped prepare us to do our jobs for the future! We both learned what hard work was, and it showed. We need more people like John Lewis. The celebrations of his life truly touched a chord with me, reminding me it’s never too late to do the right thing. John Lewis said, “When you make mistakes when you’re wrong, you should admit you’re wrong and ask people to forgive you.”  He was a person who walked the talk!

 To me, a cemetery is symbolic and a place we call a burial ground. What did I learn about “The Cemetery?” A time to reflect on my own life. Remember those who went before me and make sure I do my part while I’m living. 

 Question: What do you want your legacy to be?


8 Comments on “August – 2020”

  1. What do I want my legacy to be? What a subtly profound and thought-provoking question! It forces me to reflect on so many occasions when this question should have guided what I did (or didn’t) do. It also compels me to allow my answer to this question to guide my future actions. Your book is full of insights that are both entertaining and therapeutic. Thank you.

  2. Wow! Good question! I want my legacy to be one of “giving back”. After retirement, I volunteered at a local medical clinic here in State College until they no longer needed our team. I enjoy serving on the Boards of women’s clubs to assist in decision-making and leadership. My husband and I currently have math scholarships established at Penn State for students who are in need of funds to pursue their careers in mathematics. There are so many ways one can “give back” in our Community.

    Sandy, thank you for taking the time and energy to write this wonderful book. It brought back precious memories for me, since I too grew up in a rural setting, surrounded by farmland. The fact that you included the hymns your family sang and your dear Mother’s recipes, makes it extra heartwarming.

  3. Sandy,
    It’s a good time to reflect on our own lives and think whether we’re making a difference or not. At the moment, we live in our own bubble. I could probably do more for others but I am just enjoying life at the moment. My husband has always worked at the Food Bank and has gone back when he felt comfortable doing so. I had a difficult year with my 3 surgeries so I guess I’m allowing myself some time for myself even if it’s selfish. As for the cemetery, I’ve always enjoyed looking at tombstones and speculating how that person lived and what they thought about. It sounds like your work at the cemetery had a lot of influence in your life. Thanks for the book!

  4. What a lovely question, What do I want my legacy to be? You know me – I had to go look up the definition of legacy and it’s interesting because I’d have expected it to be much more broad than what I discovered. John Lewis is an example of a person who left a legacy that I think is very beautiful and something that inspires others. I have struggled as I get older to figure out how I can live in the world without hurting it, or leaving a “footprint” that is damaging. As humans, we all have an effect on our environment and those around us. I hope that my legacy will cause more good than any damage I’ve contributed. I hope that in some way I will continue to inspire others to reach for the best in themselves and to see and encourage the best in others. I’ve always admired the Native cultures that did not find it necessary to mark the earth, but lived and died in ways that left the planet thriving. I am pleased that a large part of today’s society is studying how to live and be on the planet in more sustainable, less destructive ways, so that it will be able to support life for our children and their children. I like being a part of that.

    • Thank you Jen, for your insightful comments about your legacy. We certainly can learn a lot from the Native American culture. Thank you for sharing and doing your part.

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