Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Legacy

When you reach my age and stage of life, you think a lot about your legacy. Having a terminal illness only brings those thoughts into sharper focus. But really, we should all be thinking about our legacy, no matter how old we are or where we are in life, because none of us knows how much time we have on this planet. What will we leave behind that will have an lasting impact?

Most people consider their children and grandchildren, if they have them, to be their legacy. But my wife and I don't have children. We have to look harder to find those lasting legacy items that will continue to make a difference after we've left the field of play.

Early April of 2017 consists of several reminders of what I feel my legacy will be. Last Saturday, April 1st, was the most fun reminder.

On Saturday, we had some dear friends over for lunch, including Candice, who is our partner in our ice cream venture. I thought I had finally perfected my recipe for my gourmet chocolate ice cream, in both dark and milk chocolate flavors. I was anxious to see if Candice and her family agreed that these were the recipes that we should go ahead with.

Candice has two daughters, Maxine and Gloria, ages nine and seven, respectively. Their opinion was of prime importance. Not least because they are children, and who better to judge ice cream than kids? I also wanted their opinion because Gloria, last Thanksgiving, chose the name for the ice cream. Chosen Family Chocolate. I tell that story in my post The Things You Think Of. Here is a video of their unbiased review. You may have already seen it on Facebook.

To my great satisfaction, all agreed that I'd found the final recipes. Now we're on to the next phase; finalizing our business plan, consulting an attorney, crowdfunding startup capital, deciding on branding and packaging, and making presentations to investors. It's very exciting. I never thought this would be possible, but Candice's vision has made it possible.

Another of the things that has to be decided is which cancer-related organization we'd like to donate a portion of our proceeds to. It's important to me that we do that. That makes it even more of a legacy item than it would otherwise be. It's about more than just getting my ice cream out so more people can enjoy it, and so it can hopefully become a source of income for us in retirement. It will also be about fighting this disease, and/or helping those who suffer from it. Legacy. Something that leaves a lasting impact.

I'm in the early stages of producing my last CD project. I'll begin work in earnest on the first phase of that process, writing the lyrics, next week. It's volume 20 of a series I've written and produced since the 1990's. That series has been used in children's ministry around the world for decades. It's one of the reasons I began my cancer journey with such a large base of support, and it's my main musical legacy. It's called Righteous Pop Music, or RPM for short. I'm very grateful and blessed to have such a legacy that will continue to be a ministry to others long after I've gone home.

I began work today on a speaking and singing engagement I have this Saturday morning for a ministry training event hosted by the same company for whom I produce the RPM series. I'll sing a few songs and talk about hope, which is their theme. I'll end my three song set with an original song called, "My Hope Is In The Lord." That's the song I talk about in my post, "My Song." During a time when I could not seem to get back into a music-writing head space, almost exactly one year ago, the fog lifted for one day, and I was able to write that song for a musical this same client was putting together. It seems a good place to begin my testimony/devotional, which will run about 20 minutes.

I think the talk will begin by telling that story. Then I'll transition into talking about hope, and tie it into Palm Sunday, which is this Sunday. I'm thinking that what I say will be largely based on three posts in this blog; My Song, What Gives Me Hope, and my Palm Sunday post from last year, My Crowd On The Road. If you live in the Denver area, you're invited. Just tell them at the door that you're there to see me. I'll be putting the details out for it on Facebook soon, but it's Saturday morning, April 8th at 9:00 AM (I think) at Tower Community Fellowship in Aurora, Colorado.

Telling my story, bearing witness to what God's been doing in my life since my diagnosis is a huge legacy item for me, as you know. I look for opportunities to speak now, rather than for opportunities to sing. This time, I get to do both. But I'm only allowing ten out of my allotted thirty minutes for singing. The rest is dedicated to talking about the transformation that's taken place in my life since I found out I have cancer, and the hope I've found that I didn't have before.

I'm being told that the whole thing will be captured on video, and I'll be able to post it soon thereafter. So like my "sermon," The End Of Myself, this message will live on for any who want to watch it. I don't know how long I have to live, but I'm pretty sure YouTube will outlive me.

As we speak, my friend Todd is beginning to plan the summer show for the rock band school for kids I've talked so much about. Here is where my hopes for a legacy may exceed the impact I actually have. I'm a late joiner in this endeavor, and sometimes I wonder how much of what I say and do there has lasting value to them. But it's been huge for me. I was brought in as a vocal coach, but I work with all of the kids, because of my background as a band leader. Some of the kids are just there for fun. Others are serious about a career in music. I just hope I can impart some wisdom to the ones who want to pursue music as a career. Things I wish someone had told me when I was their age, and that will stay with them throughout their musical careers. I hope I can leave a legacy with them.

And of course, my other main legacy is this blog. I'll begin the process of turning it into a book this fall, after RPM 20 is finished, and after our 40th anniversary celebration. The impact that this blog has had is already apparent, and I'm not anywhere near done, nor has its readership peaked. It continues to grow. This blog will be here as long as Google is. Google will outlive all of us. And it's my sincere hope that the book will have as wide a reach as the blog has, if not a much wider reach.

Because now, I'm thinking about my legacy, and treating everything I do like it's part of that legacy. I should have been doing this all along, with volumes 1-19 of the RPM series, and with everything else I did. But at least I finally understand how important my legacy is, now that I'm awake.

The friendships I've been blessed with are a major part of my legacy too. So many would never have happened were it not for cancer. The love we share is as much a legacy as anyone could want. If love is my legacy, who could claim a better one?

It's not about me. That's what I've learned. It's not about any of the things I used to think were so important, like money, career, and self promotion. It's about legacy. It's about leaving a lasting impact. That's what the rest of my life will be about. #waroncancer

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