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February 18, 2014

Legacy: What will we Leave Behind? ~ Edith Lazenby

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Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime. ~ Ray Bradbury

What I Want to Give.

I am leading an AA meeting tonight. They say we keep it by giving it away.

I have over 24 years of sobriety and cannot remember the last time I lead a meeting. As you may have heard if you read my blogs, summer was rocky and I promised myself half a dozen times I would drink if the end came.

But the funny thing is the end never comes. I mean, we die. And for all purposes that is an ending. At least for me, life as I know it will end. But in my belief system, my spirit will keep going.

You see the love we live never dies. Love stays with us. How do I know? Well, I have it on good authority from one who visited the other side and even if I did not have her experience to go on, my own experience in life tells me love never dies.

Love can change forms. Love can grow. Love can move in us and through us. But that which is true stays with us.

That which is not true or real does not endure.

So when I ask myself what I want to give I think I want to give love. Love is more feeling than thought, more action than feeling, more energy than anything.

But what does it mean when we fall out of love?

It means the energy of love that runs through us stops moving toward someone by our actions, in our thoughts and through our feelings.

Love’s medium may have changed but the to need to love, give love and be loved has not.

So in AA we say we keep it by giving it away. I hope to offer something to the fellowship tonight through my story. I want to give the newcomers hope and faith and the old timers maybe a different window to look through.

Bottom line is we all want to feel we are more like our friends and fellows than we are different.

And maybe I don’t go to meetings the way I used to once upon a time. But I have stayed sober because I learned to give it away: the faith, the hope, the love.

And my teaching thrives as a yoga instructor because even on the worst days I do my best to love my students.

I don’t have children. I have no living legacy. But as a teacher said it’s not the genes we need to pass on so much as the love. My legacy lives in what I do. My legacy lives in my writing. My legacy lives in my students. My legacy lives with my friends and family. My legacy is love.

We all need it. We all want it. And we all already are it.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant archives

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