With the start of the New Year, I’ve been thinking a lot about leaving a legacy. If I’ve got a limited number of days upon this earth, how do I want to spend them?
Could I make someone’s life better because I’ve been, their faith stronger because I’ve believed, their creativity blossom because I’ve shared mine? How can I invest the gifts and talents God’s given me into the lives others?
And what really makes us humans happy? Does fame and fortune fill us up or is it in the giving to others that we breathe those sweet sighs of satisfaction?
Maybe leaving a legacy is really quite simple. Maybe it’s being who God has created us to be, and then sharing that with others.
I’m blessed to have a mother who is leaving a legacy of creativity to my sister, brother, and me and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I describe some of the many ways she gives her creativity away to nurture others in my book, Refrain from the Identical: Insights and Inspiration for Creative Eclectics. Here’s an excerpt from a piece titled Returning to your Creative Core:
“…my mother is the Florence Nightingale of creative healing. She finds daily happiness in a plethora of art forms and handicrafts. These, in turn, she uses to nourish the lives of others in order to bring them joy and wholeness. For example, last year she taught two family friends to crotchet as a means of recovery from losing their beloved son and brother. Her happiness seemed to peak when she shared her talents with others. During a recent visit, she recounted the comments of women who bought her jewelry.
“I could see their joy reflected back in sparkling eyes,” she sighed.
She always has a baby quilt in process for a new member of someone’s family. When showing me the crocheted caps for premature babies and chemo patients she donates to the hospital, I hear her say,
“I pray for them while I make them.”
Gifts from her creative storehouse given to the local shelter are standard fair, as is donating to raise funds for education through our altruistic ventures. Although my mother thoroughly enjoys creating alone, in her world, giving to others completes the cycle of artistic life.
I also possess my mother’s traits in some measure. I enjoy capturing imagination into an artistic form, yet I thrill to see a spark of desire lit in someone by something I made, said, or wrote. Like my mother, I believe creativity possesses the uncanny ability to lift another’s eyes towards heaven. When we give handmade gifts away, hearts fill with love and appreciation. For example, one Christmas I made personalized scrapbooks for each of the women in my family. Eyes welled with tears as torn wrapping paper revealed the photo albums within. When we teach someone a treasured talent we possess, we enhance the rest of his or her life. I have had students return years later to thank me for inspiring them to write. They express appreciation for a practice that continues to transform their lives. Passing on these gifts from God truly is the main impetus behind my desire to publish books.”
My sister, Gina Marie Wilson, created the artwork for Chapter 2, Aligning your Creative Compass, where this excerpt can be found.
So as 2020 rounds the bend, I’ve decided to find some ways I can leave a legacy; from passing on ideas, tips, and inspiration for increasing creativity to making arts and crafts with my grandkids.
I’m going to re-align my creative compass and pursue some of the different kinds of creativity that have formed the artist I am today, to rediscover what God has placed inside of me, and then give that away to others.
“What I am looking for is not ‘out there,’ it is in me.”