The Greatest Memorial

memorialI was standing in line at Target when I noticed a very elaborate tattoo on the arm of the young man in front of me. I couldn’t help but stare at the detail when I realized it was a memorial to his grandfather. It was beautifully designed and executed on his right forearm.

I do not intend to diminish this man’s memorial to his grandfather or any other expression of love and devotion, but for the benefit of my own children I would ask them to refrain from tattooing my name on their bodies, or pasteing the memory of my life in the back window of their SUV. If you want to erect a memorial to your father – be true to God and yourself.

I have a friend who lives in the shadow of her father’s life. She is gifted, talented and has so much to offer to the world around her, but I fear she feels the constant pressure to “live up” to her father’s achievements. Her life and actions seem more of an attempt to build a shrine to her father than to create a legacy of her own.

Most of us have heard Shakespeare’s words from Hamlet, “to thine own self be true…” I would only add to that be what God created you to be. You are unique! You are fearfully and wonderfully made! God designed you like no one else – be who you were created to be.

When I am gone, what I have accomplished is my memorial. Somewhere, written on the lives of others is my legacy. People I may have crossed paths with for an day or known for a lifetime speak more volumes of how I lived than do statues and gravestones and eulogies. The people I touched, the friends I made, the small corner of the globe that I occupy – it is enough.

If you want to honor my legacy – go and live. Be different! Don’t conform to the world, or to the ideas and subjective standards of men. Most of all, don’t apologize for being who you are.

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