We have reached that time in our lives when the term “legacy” is more than just a word; it has significant meaning. We muse about what we want our children and grandchildren to remember. What will our community remember? Much of this is pointless, of course, because we will be easily replaced and though we can’t imagine it, replaced by very capable people. Those of us who have retired have already been exposed to this. I still enjoy having students tell me they enjoyed my classes. I could care less if they’re lying. I need to think I have made a difference in people’s lives. I need to think that is part of my legacy.
Several years ago I heard a speaker challenge us listeners to write a Legacy Letter to our children and grandchildren. We were challenged to decide what was most important in our lives, write it down and eventually give it to our heirs. We could decide when we would give them the letter. I thought this was a great idea and immediately composed a rough draft. I have rewritten it many times, but the process challenges me again and again. What do I really value?
Part of my letter includes this quote from David Brooks, who admonishes us to guard against becoming too inward, or self-centered:
This perspective begins with an awareness that the world existed long before you and will last long after you, and that in the brief span of your life you have been thrown by fate, by history, by chance, by evolution, or by God into a specific place with specific problems and needs. Your job is to figure out: What does this environment need in order to be made whole? What is it that needs repair? What tasks are lying around to be performed? As the novelist Frederick Buechner put it, “At what points do my talents and deep gladness meet the world’s deep need?” (The Road to Character)
Luther is part of this legacy for all of us. Luther challenged us to bloom in our families, our jobs and in our communities. This is Luther’s legacy. We can help ensure that this legacy continues by contributing in whatever way we can. Please consider supporting current students with a donation to the Luther Fund. Use the attached form and the reusable envelope or visit givenow.luther.edu to donate today!
As always, I welcome your comments and news. I would love to include them in the next letter.
Soli deo Gloria.
Mary (Henzler) Deters
1966 Class Agent
Harold Dahlstrand is executive in residence and assistant professor of business at Elmhurst (Ill.) College.
Roger Kittelson of Forest Lake, Minn., is retired.