This is one of the last pictures of my grandfather (Papa Low) and it always symbolized how he would soon be leaving this world behind. However, recently it has evolved to symbolize something completely different. Just like the picture, his memory has faded. Can I still see his face accurately in my mind, or do I recall all the important conversations we had when I was riding with him in his truck? Today as I write this, my three boys have no idea who Papa Low was other than through my stories. Sadly, as time marches on, the people he impacted the most will pass away including me. That means that the entire memory of his life will exist in the following words on his tombstone: Harold L. Lowrance 1923-2000. I’m not trying to be depressing or morbid but instead drive home the point of how important it is to write. Yes, I said write. I’m not trying to be your English teacher; I’m proposing that writing is practical. I would pay a lot of money if I could read a journal or diary that my grandfather wrote. I wish I knew what he was thinking when he shipped off to the air force, what dates were like with my grandmother, how hard it was to run a farm and fulltime job at the same time. Did he have parental advice to give after raising my dad? What were his thoughts on the political climate during Vietnam? The list goes on and on. Naturally as I wonder about him and his character, my mind gravitates to what my grandchildren will think about me in the future. Will they one day wish they had my journal or diary? The truth is that they already have one. It’s all my social media accounts. One day, many years from now, they will get on the internet and search my name and see every word I’ve ever written on the internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even my book reviews on Good Reads. The world has forever changed and today people are leaving a legacy behind with their posts, pictures, and comments.
I would like to ask you for a quick moment of reflection. If your descendants could read everything you posted or commented on in the last year, what impression would they have of you? Did they see a narcissist that posted 50 different pictures of themselves? Did they see a troll that did nothing but criticize and condemn other people? Were you a political mouthpiece that did nothing but spread information that incited negative emotion, or did you share your story good and bad through the lens that was humble, honest, and transparent? I’d encourage you to take some time and search your own media pages to find the answer.
I’m not trying to point fingers as much as I want to proclaim anew commitment in my own life. I want to write more and write with purpose. You’ve probably heard the famous quote before “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” From my perspective the inverse is just as true….Your influence 100years from now depends on who you pour into and the words that you write. What you are writing has the potential to reach far beyond your own lifespan. I want to say that again in a different way so that it sinks in: write your story with the understanding that people you can’t know will one day read. Leave a legacy your great grandkids will be proud of.