While some immediately think of money when they hear the word legacy, hopefully most of us think of those other things which are deemed important enough to be passed from one person to another, or from one generation to another. Stop for a moment and answer two questions. First, what legacies did you receive from your parents and grandparents? You must go beyond material items and money to answer this question. Second, what legacies are you creating for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your community members? It is wonderful if you have wealth enough to fund their education or jump start their career dreams, but really dig deep and think about what else you want them to remember you for.
As you consider this, perhaps you'll remember grandparents and parents who quietly (or not so quietly) demonstrated the lessons of living God's word. Have you ever truly stopped and acknowledged their influence on your own life path? Miriam Jones Bradley does just that in a series of thoughtful essays titled All I Have Needed: A Legacy for Life. This slim volume is not slim on gratitude, hope, and tender reminisces. A key thought throughout the essays is how the devastating death of Miriam's mother when Miriam was only 10 was buffered by the steady, loving presence of her four grandparents. Then later when her father remarried she added a third set of grandparents, willing and ready to add to her growing legacy for life.
One of my facebook friends recently posted this quotation by Gandhi : In a gentle way, you can shake the world. In many ways that quotation connects to this book. Through the many years these gentle and quiet people lived out their faith, they were shaping (and sometimes shaking up) the world around them, especially the lives of their descendants. While Miriam Jones Bradley does focus on the beliefs that shaped her world, she also includes some insightful essays on the powers of family photographs, the soundtracks of our youth, and those unforgettable smells and sights which can never be duplicated. Together, just like the pieces of a quilt, they piece together an image of home that is our precious legacy, a gift that cannot be duplicated.
This book would be a great gift for the historian in your family, a way of acknowledging that their interest in your family heritage is valued. Giving this book to someone older that you love would an excellent way of saying that you recognize the legacy you've received from them. Take the time to insert a letter or note, personally expressing some of those unforgettable moments, smells, or sounds. If you read Miriam Jones Bradley's book first, you'll have no trouble connecting to those long ago memories. I received a copy of Bradley's book from Ambassador International for review purposes. All opinions are mine. If you would like to learn more about this book and Miriam Jones Bradley's writings, I suggest you check out her blog.