Wednesday, December 17, 2014

“When it comes to my own turn to lay my tools down, I shall do so with thankfulness and fatigue, and whatever be my destiny afterward, I shall be glad to lie down with my father in honor. It is human at least, if not divine.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson

Googling yourself is not a good thing to do besides being vain.  If you Google “rev charles wiggins” you will find about seven items on the first page referring to a priest of that name who was arrested and defrocked for child molestation.  That was sobering.  I am not that priest, but anyone looking might think so.  We are not what Google tells us we are.  We are not who we are by how many “friends” we have on Facebook or “followers” on Google+ and Twitter. I really love the Stevenson quote above because my father was such a good man and that is how he is remembered by all who knew him.  You will not read of his generosity on Google, or Facebook, or Twitter.  You will not know of the many children of Hispanic workers that my father helped with their education.  You will never read of the endowed scholarship he left for worthy students at Hendrix College because he left it in the name of a pastor he admired.  You will not find his name on any buildings, nor even a stone to mark his resting place as his ashes were scattered in the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas.  I have followers on Google+ and quite a few “friends” on Facebook, but, in the end, that means nothing.  What does mean something is how I have touched the lives of those people or inspired them or by doing something really stupid, kept them from making the same mistake.  My legacy will not be written on paper or etched in stone, it will be in the hearts of those who really knew me and loved me for who and what I was.  My legacy will be in the lives of the children who lived because of the mosquito nets or biosand water filters we supplied.  It will be in the hearts of those who are living Christian lives because of training I provided their pastors and evangelists.  I will be proud “to lie down with my father in honor” because of the man he made me.  He was a man of his word and a man of honor in a time when those things were rare.  They are even rarer now, but it is my earnest prayer that my own children will know that I, too, was a man of my word and did what I said I would do, whatever the cost or inconvenience.  To paraphrase an American patriot, “I regret that I have but one life to live as it becomes the Gospel and leads others to the peace of Christ.”  True legacies cannot be counted by wealth, possessions, power, or the other measures society holds so dear.  The legacy of Mother Teresa will live forever in the hearts of those she helped and in the hearts of those she inspired to help others.
    This will make this blog rather long, but you need to read the full poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley written over two hundred years ago to truly understand how I feel, and how I hope you will come to feel about fame in this society.
"I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."  
(see picture at right)
      Touch hearts, touch lives, leave the world a better place than you found it, and your legacy will be immortal and blessed.
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