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Leaving a Legacy
Photo: Linda DuBose
As Alissa and Barry enjoyed drinks and dinner at Dr. Salamis Café in Pella, Iowa last month, a middle aged gentleman approached their table and struck up a conversation.Claiming he had just stopped to gas up on his way to Des Moines, he unraveled a yarn about once buying a car for someone. He also claimed on numerous occasions to have bought cart loads of groceries for unsuspecting shoppers at Wal-Mart.

After ascertaining that Alissa was the mother of a two-year-old, the stranger slid a blank check across the table and instructed the pair to fill it out for any amount they pleased. Thinking it was a joke, they wrote in $100,000. The man signed the check assuring the young couple he was good for it.

Before leaving for Des Moines, the mystery man revealed the stipulations he placed on his gift. Alissa and Barry were not to reveal his identity, or their last names. They were to buy, or build a house with the money. And, if the couple had a child together, they were to name their baby after their benefactor.

Oh yes! And, on his way out the door, the traveler tipped the waitress $100.

Imagine the pairs delight and amazement when the check they assumed was bogus cleared the bank a few days later!

Desire to be Remembered

What jumps out at you in this story? For me, it was not the philanthropist’s generosity, although that in itself was remarkable. I was most struck by his desire to be remembered – to leave behind posterity. The wealthy stranger who lamented he had no grandchildren, most wanted a child bearing his name, living in a home he provided for them.

Most of us desire to produce offspring, who in time will give us grandchildren. Some however, for various reasons, choose not to procreate. Others try desperately to conceive and are deeply disappointed when their prayers for a “little one” seemingly go unanswered.

Many have borne children but have lost them through accidents, wars, illness and other untimely deaths. I am convinced there is no greater anguish than losing a child, even when he or she is an adult.

If you have children or grandchildren now, treasure every precious hour you have with them, regardless of the work or frustration they sometimes cause. For, children are truly a blessing from the Lord.

If you don’t and wish you did, have you ever considered adoption? I don’t mean in the legal sense of the word but through an emotional commitment. Have you thought of investing emotionally in another person, of any age, who may not have parents of their own?

There are many children and adults who have lost their parents through death, abandonment, or estrangement. To come alongside one or two of them to offer support and encouragement, or perhaps even mentoring, is a priceless gift. And, as you give, you will find your own life enriched and blessed in unexpected ways as you take someone under your wing to nurture.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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