Since my Grandma first got sick, our whole family changed. She was a vibrant, gracious, almost-domineering force of hospitality and social graces. No one else could do what she did (in the way she did it). But, as I said, our family changed. Changed as in adapted because that is what you do when someone gets sick, or dies. It is fueled by our basic needs for survival and socializing. So now my mom does a great job playing the matriarch of our family. Not like Grandma did it, but in a gentler, uncomplaining, and beautiful way.
Grandpa died in July, years after Grandma. He was what held her things together. The things she left behind when she died. The accumulated articles that represented her memories and personal preferences; china patterns, an extensive collection of porcelain roosters, magnets from travel adventures. He downsized a few years before he died and many of those items, counted precious, were given to my mom, or her brothers, or us grandchildren. There wasn't enough room at the new house.
Now I can't help but think how many of those things have dwindled having been sold, donated, stored in unrecalled locations. While several things are still cherished and used, most are not. The physical evidence of my Grandma, though the memories we hold of her are strong, vivid.
I'm pregnant with my third child. I'm sad she will not know my Grandma or my Grandpa. Only see the evidence of them in pictures and in the way we live our own lives. Last night I was overwhelmed by the thought that her children will have even less evidence in their lives of two of the people who are such significant players in my memories. And the generation after that? The law of diminishing returns prevails.
It takes only one careless generation to let ancestry disappear forever. People who have contributed to our existence and lifestyle whose names are completely unknown.
Understatement to say this is depressing. We work so hard to make it through our own lives doing things that matter and have an impact. But the ripple in the pond slowly becomes bigger, less defined and further and further away. So what, then is the point?
It isn't this life. All of this depressing realization can fall away because this life isn't the end. That our great-grandchildren should remember us, passing along beautiful things or powerful lessons isn't to what we have been called. Unless those things and those lessons are about the powerful God we serve, the Christ who came humbly, served, died and rose again.
Our significance on this earth is limited unless we draw our significance from God. Then when our dishes are broken, the meals we served forgotten, the art of our hands gone... We will still have rest and joy. Forever in the heaven where our God lives, secure in His love. Let the life of humility and kindness He called us to be our legacy to our children and the generations to follow, because He is what endures.