Lots of people consider this to be a time of new beginnings. The days are longer and warmer. Plants are
growing. Trees are full again. The whole of the outdoors is in bloom. Easter has come and gone, and the Liturgical year has restarted. You may think this is the start of something great. But not me.
For me, this is always a time of endings. Television seasons are wrapping up. My beloved New York
Rangers have been ousted from the playoffs. The MYP Retreat has come and gone. And, of course, the school year is drawing to a close.
I’ve always been more closely tied to the academic calendar than anything else. When you’re a kid, it
dictates your life. I joined the Module Team during college, and worked in schools for a few years after. I married a teacher. Now I have a daughter whose life is dictated by – you guessed it – the school year. Calendar notwithstanding, for me the year is ending. It gives me cause to contemplate my legacy.
Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t expect to go anywhere anytime soon. Obviously none of us knows
the day nor the hour, but statistically I have a good many years left. Still, I’d like to think I matter, and I only have so many trips around the sun. I also don’t really like the word “legacy.” It seems pretentious to me. “Impact” or “mark” are words I’m more comfortable with. Honestly, I feel silly even talking about this. But that’s what you do at the “end”, so here we are. I’ve used a lot of “quotations” in this paragraph, possibly “incorrectly.” “Sorry.”
Here’s what I know. I want to make a difference. I want to matter. I suppose that’s a pretty basic human
desire, but it is the plain truth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily looking for everlasting fame. The way I see it, the people who are really, truly remembered for hundreds or thousands of years are villains more often than they are heroes. Better to accomplish good things anonymously, yes? Jesus said as much, I think.
But how am I doing so far? I’m trying to raise my daughter to be a good person. That’s job one. Beyond
that, though? I’d like to think things like this column and the MYP podcast make ripples. All of my work
with the Module, in fact. Do I trust to the Butterfly Effect on that? Actually, I should trust God. That’s my full stop, final answer. But if I simply leave it at that, then this whole article has been a waste of all of our time. So let’s press on.
We just recorded a podcast on the MYP Retreat. If you listened to it, then you heard us hoping aloud
that the teens took away something from the weekend. In essence, that it mattered. And so I come back to having faith. Can’t seem to shake it.
Music helps. (With considering my place, not with faith. Although it helps with that too.) The song
which shares a title with this very article says “It’s alright, as long as you lend a hand.” I’d like to think that I do that. Vienna reminds me that “you can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” The Grass Roots suggested that the whole thing is an exercise in futility. Let’s Live For Today. Some of the most unrelentingly positive and uplifting optimism I experience comes from Bruce Springsteen’s Land Of Hope A nd Dreams. Give yourself up to God and everything will be okay. “Faith will be rewarded.”
Hmmm… I keep coming back to that. It feels like someone is trying to tell me something. I shouldn’t
worry about leaving my mark. It’s like a twenty-something writing their memoirs. I should get busy doing it. Miles yet to go before I sleep. But I’m going to go ahead and disagree with the distinguished gentleman who wrote this column. I don’t think this has been a waste of time. On the contrary, it has kept me mindful of why I do the things I do. Firm up the goal posts a bit.
I’m reminded of Thomas Merton, by way of The W est Wing. “I don’t always know the right thing to do,
Lord, but I think the fact that I want to please you pleases you.” I’m going to do my best, which is all that can be asked of any of us. I’m going to trust in the Lord, and I’m going to live. The best way that I know how. The rest will sort itself out.
Okay, I’m done worrying about this for now. It’s a time of endings, after all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I
have a legacy to leave.