Make Like a Tree: Timber

This is the fifth post in a 5-post series entitled, “Make Like a Tree.” Feel free to check out each of the posts!

The word legacy shows up with some frequency in our world, though I’m not sure that it gets the respect that it should. In my experience, legacy is something of a concern for many of us; what we are going to leave behind when we are gone is on the forefront of many of our minds.

This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of this life/tree analogy. Evidence of a tree lasts years, centuries even after it has fallen. What we leave behind lasts far longer than what we take with us. Each of us should feel a certain weight of responsibility when we come to this realization, and it should plant the seeds of a question; ‘what about me will outlast my life?’

There are, of course, several types of answers to this question. We leave behind our tangible accomplishments; money, cars, perhaps a home or even the next generation. Somewhat less tangible things that we leave behind; any change we made in the world, advances or shifts in our business, and perhaps least tangible of all, any lessons that we taught or emotional impact we created.

As I write this, it occurs to me that the less tangible our legacy, the longer lasting or perhaps even greater impact it may have. My father died 16 years ago and every year more of his “old stuff” ends up in a ‘donate’ pile or even the garbage. But as those 16 years have gone by, the lessons he taught me and the ways he shaped me have only grown in value. The most lasting impact we can leave is an impact of growth.
When a tree falls it leaves behind all of its nourishment, all of its seeds, all of its energy for the future of the forest - it takes nothing with it and leaves an impact of growth for the future. What if we could say the same?

What we leave behind creates the soil for others to build their root structures. Your growth is best used when it is devoted to the future growth of others. Your strength is strongest when you nourish the lives of those around you. Your impact is greatest when your energy becomes used for others.

Our legacy can begin today and need not wait until we have left this earth. What have you done to nourish the growth of others?

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