Legacy

In an earlier post I wrote that when you royally screw up like I did, people come out of the woodwork and just say all of the things that they were thinking all along. It’s kind of like reading your own obituary…. “It’s a shame he didn’t have more time for his kids” “he only ever talked about himself….”

When this happens it is incredibly sobering! We think about what might’ve been.

Some of you may be familiar with the plot of Sliding Doors… Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, the whole emphasis of the story hinges on whether she catches or misses the train. She catches it, she meets a guy, they fall in love etc. She misses it she meets a different guy, they fall in love etc.

Sometimes you’ll encounter one of these destiny moments, when opportunity knocks, answer! For who knows what is waiting around the corner!,

This actually happened to me! In the Summer of ’98 I was unemployed and desperately seeking some kind of meaning in my life!

I knew that I was born for more than what I was doing. So I prayed with my friends that God would show me His will for my life. I had my quiet time and read in my devotional, The Word for Today the following words “If you want to make your life count, sow it like seeds into the lives of others!”

As I sat there I suddenly remembered the notices from church the previous day, a tent mission in a nearby towm needed salvation counsellors to volunteer to help out because they had had an overwhelming response of people turning to Christ! I instantly knew that this was where God wanted me to go!

I went to the phone book and called the Church, I didn’t get through at first, at the time our phone was cut off and in the phone box it felt like I was never going to get through! As if my life and destiny was on hold just like that phone call until finally I got through!

I told them I was available, I helped out I kipped on a sofa or two… I planned to be there for a week or two, 17 years later I am still in the same town! At the end of the second week I met the woman who would become my wife and my life changed forever!

The legacy of Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was a very successful Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor and armaments manufacturer. He discovered how to stabilize nitroglycerine into a usable and safe explosive, dynamite. He held 355 different patents and owned scores of companies worldwide. When he died he left the bulk of his huge wealth, estimated to be worth about 250 million pounds today, to found the international prizes that now bear his name. He was motivated to do this partly by seeing his obituary in 1888 when his brother died and a French newspaper accidentally published the obituary of the wrong Nobel! It said ‘Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people than ever before, died yesterday.’ He decided he wanted to be remembered for more than dynamite. He specified that the prizes should be for physical sciences, chemistry, medical science or physiology, literary work and peace. Different Swedish academies are responsible for the physics, chemistry, medicine and literature prizes, while a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament is responsible for the peace prize. There is also a Bank of Sweden prize in economic sciences ‘in memory of Alfred Nobel’.

He had a second chance to change his legacy to the world, and what a legacy!

It is all about legacy. how will I be remembered? It is not vain to want to leave a legacy, it is right to want to make your life count.

I once heard someone teach on the importance of making your life count, he looked out of the window where we were sat and looked towards the cemetery that was visible out of the window. He said, “what do you see when you look out here?” (Silence) I see missed opportunities, and unfulfilled potential. To our young minds this was very profound!

I wrote a poem recently about just this:

Hyphen – The space in between

It’s not so much a mark of mere punctuation
But rather it’s a sign, of life and it’s duration
As you look upon each chiselled stone
All standing to attention;
We try to truly look aloof and hide the apprehension,
Of humanity’s mortality,
Our final destination.

As we reflect, the Danish Prince
Ignites a flame that burns
‘That undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns’

How can you believe in destiny without a destination?
How can you build a building without an estimation?
Purpose is the reason, Intent the Creator’s cause.
For no one is an accident please, let me give you pause…

But it’s the dash between the dates that makes me write today
And dash as we might and dash as we may
Each wistful fleeting moment can be stolen from our life an’
What joy is it to be summarised by a simple stone-carved hyphen?!?

The dates each side don’t really matter
For what is space and what is time?!
Without the space that’s in between
Where lies the reason or the rhyme?!

Space is the distance between the matter
If no space then… what’s the matter?!

Without my birth I wouldn’t live
Without my death no riddle,
No eulogy no mourning friends
If no beginning and no end
Why even have a middle?!

But upon a day four decades past
I breathed fresh air anew
And as my lungs let out a yell
I declared myself alive
And this is why I want to live
And not to just survive

To make the space between more meaningful
Take time to rest and savour
A life that’s full of life and hope
That’s bursting out with flavour

Life is but a vapour, now you see it now… You don’t
Maybe you’ll accept my words, maybe…. you just won’t
But invest your life into other people
Your words into each other
Sow kindness ‘stead of selfishness
Make every man your brother
Leave a legacy of love that lives on inside your friends
Not a trail of bitterness that thankfully …just ends.

The moment that you stepped on stage
Your inextinguished fire raged
Not cowering behind the curtain
Your words, your lines are there for certain
To raise your eyes towards the skies
And watch your dawning day arise

From the moment that you entered life you came in with a yell
Let generosity and courage ring loud like sounding bell
When time arrives for to depart
Your looks won’t matter, just your heart

So riding steed into the night
Don’t ever cease to fight the fight
But sound aloud your victory cry
For when freedom sings, your demons fly!

P J Deakin 2015 ©

Through my work I have encountered someone who has truly inspired me! A man called Archie Douglas who is about my age and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Prior to this he was a fit, strong serviceman having served on three occasions in Afghanistan as well as elsewhere.

Yet this diagnosis has not daunted him, it has encouraged to create a charity called Beat The Beast Challenge where he determines to learn new skills, such as piano, new languages, climb mountains in his native Scotland and cycle as many miles as he can to either beat the tumour or raise as much money as he can before it beats him!

Archie is truly one of life’s heroes, not because he fought in the front line for Queen and Country but because when the battle lines were drawn in his own body he didn’t choose to accept the diagnosis, but to fight!

Please go to his Facebook page, Beat The Beast Challenge and sponsor him, help him to create a lasting legacy!

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