A Heritage of Love Leaving a web of love, marking our lives, and blessing others BY: Troy Murphy |June 2013
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Yesterday I conversed with a homeless man. Intoxicated and frustrated, he called me a variety of vile names. He mocked me, threatened my family, and spat at me. He wore urine stained clothing and had no food in his tummy; he appeared miserable. The impact of his meanness I quickly forgave, knowing his story is much deeper and complex than the single momentary contact with me. After nearly two decades of policing a major city, I have learned not to take interactions personally. His physical and mental condition, however, gave me great sorrow. Pain and loneliness were his constant companions.
A few hours after this unpleasant encounter, I was dispatched to the home of an 88-year-old man that passed away during the night. Family and friends continually flowed through the front door, lingered in the room, and said their goodbyes. Over several hours, dozens of friends and relatives flooded the small rooms of his modest home. Over the course of his long life, he built a legacy of love.
Neither life of the recently deceased man or that of the struggling homeless man was formed from a simple act. Our acts of kindness, or meanness, slowly create our legacy. We construct our legacy through a variety of relationships. Do we hate the world and in return the world hates us, or do we love the world and in return the world loves us? One man died surrounded by friends and family each with cherished memories of closeness; the other, sadly, will most likely die a lonely hermit.
I don’t know the outside forces that influenced these two very different lives. What I do know is that the seemingly small paths we take early in life largely determines the paths available later in life. I want to be loved. I want to be surrounded by those I love. I hope my children, friends, and family will gather with warm memories when my journey comes to an end. I can actively build a heritage of love. Not from haphazardly living, but actively building relationships.
Which paths are you taking? Are you building a heritage of love?