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Blessing 34 – Leaving a Legacy February 3, 2012

Today I was watching the last in the current BBC series of Sherlock Holmes and it made me wonder what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would think if he knew how long a legacy his creation has had. A hundred years after he wrote the series of books, people are still reading them and making new adaptations and films about them. Did Conan Doyle have an inkling of the longevity of his work. For that matter did Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters or William Shakespeare have any idea what they were releasing into the world and the impact that their characters would have.

I started thinking about other people who’s lives and works are still affecting our lives today and the list of people who sprang to mind in an instant was long, really, really long. Scientists, mathematicians, inventors, doctors, politicians, artists and writers. They’ve all made such important changes to the world that we still remember their names today. I guess we all want to leave something behind, an acknowledgment that we were here, that we lived, we made a difference and that our lives counted.

We know the famous names; but there are so many people who supported them to get to that place, to achieve their legacy, sadly we never know about them. The parents, husbands and wives, children, teachers, friends and family. They are all a part of the picture, even if they do fade into the background. It’s more fun being in the spotlight, getting the applause; but time should be taken to appreciate everyone that helped them to get there.

I want to make a difference, to know that by being alive I’ve contributed to making a positive impact on the world. I’d like to think that in my small way I’m doing that, I may not become a famous author, scientist or inventor; but I think that if you’re helping people while you’re here, you are making a difference, even if you don’t leave a famous legacy behind.

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2 Responses to “Blessing 34 – Leaving a Legacy”

  1. I think we’d all like that. I know I felt a big weight off my chest just having one of my poems put in the George Eastman House’s archives. It’s not a huge deal. If one person a year reads it that would be a miracle, but just knowing some of my words will outlive me is great.
    I like how you touched on the people behind the scenes. Everyone remembers Socrates but no one thinks about the wife, children and presumably grandchildren suffered through the turmoil of his existence. Few people think of Vincent Van Gogh’s brother who supported him.

    • Claire Says:

      Wow, congratulations! That’s a huge achievement and one you must be really proud of. I guess our lives are so short, in the great scheme of things, that’s why it feels so important to have something which lasts longer than we do and also won’t age the way we do either.

      I never even knew Van Gogh had a brother, so I guess that proves the point. His life must have been extremely hard and it’s so sad that he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.


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