Life Legacies and Life Journeys

Life has becoming a little less certain in 2020. Many of us know people who have caught Covid and within days they are in hospital, on a ventilator or even dead. It’s dangerous to think “It won’t happen to me!” It’s a helpful prompt to remind us just how valuable life is and to make the most of it. We want as few regrets as possible as our earthly life draws to a close, whether that turns out to be in a few weeks or several decades away.

 

So here are five exercises to helpful you reflect on your life and where it’s heading.

 

What might your life look life in 10 or 15 or 20 years’ time: 2030, 2035 or 2040?

  • Describe the who, what, where for yourself (for example in a journal).

  • How can you take steps towards making it happen? (God willing!)

  • What are some appropriate ways for you to pray about this?

 

Look back: draw a time line or mind map of some of the significant events and milestones and people that have been part of your life. You may have done this exercise before: do it now in the context of your current situation and in the perspective of your complete life. How does the past speak into your hopes for the future?

 

What would you like to be the “legacies” continuing beyond your earthly life?

  • Memories that people will have of you

  • Your impact on other’s lives

  • Tangible things like a memory box, a piece of craft you’ve made for a family member or a work achievement such as a new way of doing things, a piece of research, a book, a building…

What do you need to do to make these things a reality? Ask God to show you what legacies He would like you to leave for people in your life and more widely.

 

Consider the practicalities of things that will be needed in the future: some of these may be difficult tasks you’ve been putting off:

  • Writing or updating your will

  • Making notes of your funeral wishes: favourite songs, hymns and readings, who you’d like to conduct the service and take part, cremation or burial. Give them to your next of kin or executor (it makes the task easier for them at the time of your death)

  • Making a list of your assets

  • Putting a lasting power of attorney in place for finances and for health and welfare

  • Making an In Case of Emergency list with contact details of family, friends, solicitor, doctor, key holders etc. A Christmas card list may be a useful addition to this.

  • Having a clear out of your cupboards, filing cabinet, garden shed. Can you live more lightly in the future?

 

What might your epitaph be? What will others write or say in an obituary or in a eulogy at a service of thanksgiving for your life? What would you like them to say? This might prompt you to consider what you could do to make your desired epitaph more of a reality.

 

Signposts

 

 

  Copywrite and Author Helen Calder 2020