The son’s picture is so much like his father. It is more than the shape of his head and physical features. It is the look in the eyes and the playful way of engaging with life that has moved seamlessly from one generation to the next. It is a great reminder that children are one of the memorial left to future generations, hopefully of the best from both sides.
I know it does not always turn out like we planned. Relationships frazzle, twisted thinking, and pain haunt everyone’s life at one time or another. In our reactions to the good and the bad, beautiful and inspirational along with the destructive and the painful, we make good choices as well as ones less so. As a child and then young adult, I always reacted in frustration when my mother reminded me that what I did spoke of her as well as my father. I disagreed then, much less so now.
We are the legacy of our parents and our choices in life. This legacy shapes, influences, and at times haunts us. Often my thinking stops here. In life, things carry on. I have a choice. I can ignore the past, focus only on me in the present, and in the end others will look at my life and affirm that I recreated a bad omen. “Erect a memorial to the sin of his father, and make sure his mother’s name is there, too.” (Psalm 109.14)
We are never bound by our legacy, even the one of yesterday. Accountable to it, yes. Limited by it, no. We can leverage our past, learn from it, and do whatever we like with what we discover! Yes, some of the things we learn are ugly and evil. They still do not need to dictate tomorrow. We can learn from our history and without learnings reach out to make this world better than what it is.
There is a freedom in the realization and acceptance that today’s story is all mine to write. I want to make sure the words are intentional.