I guess there is something in all of us that wants or maybe longs to be remembered. That’s what I thought about when I found a few inscriptions in the camper’s hut at Mude Cave Camp on Elgon Mountain. The inscriptions were of the names of some of the climbers that have been there. At that point, I told my friends that we too should find something with which to etch our names onto one of the walls of the hut, so that others could know that we too had been there. I wondered whether we could use the charcoal from the fire, but thought it might erase easily. Ball pens were no good, because they didn’t write big or thick enough. Pencils would be too light to be read. I fretted that we didn’t have the right tools to use to write our names. And moreover, we spent two nights at Mude Camp! But now, save for the parts of our story that we have shared, there is no physical evidence up on the mountain, that we were there. I then thought to myself that for the next mountain I climb, I will be much smarter and carry a marker or a pocket knife to etch my name for history and posterity.
The desire to be remembered begs the question of legacy. I am sure it’s not every day that we go around etching our names onto all the walls of all the places that we visit. But the fact is we were there, and how we live and what we leave are important. And there are some places where we can never etch our names physically – like in the lives of our children, our spouses, our families, our co-workers, our friends, etc, and yet we exist in their lives. As we do, are we aware of our footprint in their lives? Are we aware that we are etching ourselves on the walls of their hearts? Is it something we think about and care about?
Stephen Covey in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” advises that we should all begin with the end in mind. The first exercise in that book asks us to visual our funeral service; visualize who will be there and what people will say about us. He then asks that we write down what we would like people to say about us and then begin to live our lives in the way we want to be remembered.
Up on Mude Camp, beyond the inscription of my name on some wall, what else would that tell people about me? What else would people remember beyond my name – assuming that they would even remember my name? This has caused me to pause and think again about my life, about legacy.
May God grant us all the wisdom and grace to walk in this world in such a way that we are impacting lives, making a difference, leaving a legacy.