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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/516925-My-Parents-Hands
Rated: 13+ · Book · Community · #1031057
My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
#516925 added June 23, 2007 at 5:04pm
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My Parents Hands

         There comes a point in our lives when we begin to assess whether we have had any value, any impact on the world around us. Typically it is assumed that this happens when one turns fifty. Fifty is the halfway point (more like two thirds, actually). It is the age where we are given over to examining our lives, evaluating our accomplishments, wondering if there is still enough time to make our mark. Will we be remembered when we are gone?

         Let's face it, for most of us there will not be any monuments with our names, no buildings, no stadiums, no endowments, or any other accoutrements that society seems to use to judge the value, the worth of one's life or one's accomplishments. Fifty years from now, no one will open a history book and read about the often mundane everyday lives that most of us live. What impact does a single human being have during his life on the planet? What is the legacy that is left behind? Is it necessary to be famous, or infamous, to leave a mark?

         So at fifty, or somewhere there about, you begin to question the value of your life. (I know, I turned fifty a year ago). I don't think it stops there, though. I think it is a question that is always in the back of your mind, a question that will largely go unanswered. Yes, I must admit that I routinely Google my name to see how many times I show up on the Internet. It is, after all, a measure of fame. If you're interested, I fall somewhere between Britney Spears and a dog named Bo. I'm much closer to the Bo end, and in retrospect, I'm thankful for that.

         This weekend while visiting my folks I looked at my 92 year old father and my 83-year-old mother and wondered, what legacy will they leave behind? Of course, I immediately went to, well, they have two children and four grandchildren and soon to be one great grandchild. But that wasn't the answer I was looking for. That's not a legacy, that's procreation, that's genealogy. What, I wondered, was the impact of their lives on the world around them?

         It came to me as I sat in a restaurant last night, returning from a retirement luncheon for two friends of mine, where kudos and reminiscing were the order of the day. It happened in a small restaurant, in the middle of a thunderstorm, where I watched the torrential rain hitting the pavement and running off into some stormwater sewer heading for a river. My mind immediately went to my job and I wondered what the impact of this storm was, what environmental harm, what environmental good, was it causing? What controls were in place to protect the river and a myriad of other questions entered my mind, and that's when I felt it. My parent's hands were guiding me. Everything I do to try and protect the environment, they are right there with me. Their unseen hands are there. They provided knowledge and guidance and support. They provided an atmosphere that allowed me to grow and to become my own man. Every time I make a decision, they are part of that decision. Every interaction I have with another person, professionally or personally, their hands are there, influencing, guiding. And I wondered, just where does that end? Or does it never end? Is the guidance and knowledge and support I feel from them, passed down from their parents, or is it simply a roll of the genetic dice?

         And then I thought of my sister and how she chose a career in Nursing and has devoted her whole life to helping and healing people, much as I have tried to do with the small part of the planet I occupy. How far out does the influence of my parent's hands extend? Will it end one day? I think not. I think it is the proverbial pebble in a pond, rippling outward, ever outward, ever expanding. What I do was influenced by my parents, and what I do, will influence someone else, and so on, and so on.

         It is not a legacy written down in history books. It is not a legacy of monuments, buildings, stadiums or bridges. It is not a legacy of Google hits. It is far greater than that. It is a legacy of life, of beliefs, of commitment and of soul. It is a legacy of giving, not expecting anything in turn. It is a legacy of inner peace, of being comfortable with who you are and what you do. It is a legacy of living breathing monuments. Who could ask for anything more than that?

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