Leaving great legacies

Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, “Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” That is the definition of a legacy. Wouldn’t you love to do something that might strike a beautiful chord that will “vibrate in eternity”?

I’ve discovered this about legacies — generous people leave great legacies. I read about a couple in Canada who stopped to help a motorist who had run out of gasoline. It was a regular occurrence in their part of rural Canada. After they got him on his way, they bought a new fuel can, scratched their initials on it, filled it with petrol and stored it in the trunk of their car.

A few months later they again stopped to assist a stranded motorist. But this time they gave him their gas can and told him to fill it up, keep it with him and pass it along to the next motorist he sees who has run out of fuel.

Though they never expected to see their can again, in a couple of years they spotted it being passed along to a grateful motorist on the road. They recognised it several more times over the years, and each time they asked its owner where it had come from. They ascertained that the can had traveled across the continent at least two times!

They never intended to leave a legacy. When they bought the fuel can they never dreamed that their action might strike chords that could vibrate in eternity. But that container is probably still traveling across Canada in the back of somebody’s vehicle!

I wonder how many stranded motorists have been rescued by the generosity of complete strangers who stopped to help? And how many have then taken the container, re-filled it, and finally passed it along to some other poor soul? Good will generated by a humble can of fuel has no doubt been multiplied many times in countless ways, striking beautiful chords that vibrate forever.

It’s true — generous people leave great legacies. Even that small piece of yourself you freely give away may thrive in surprising ways throughout eternity.

By Steve Goodier – http://www.LifeSupportSystem.com


Steve Goodier is the author of numerous books about personal development, motivation, inspiration, and making life-changes. He is the founder and publisher of Your Life Support System, a widely-read newsletter since 1999. He writes about how to live fully, love unconditionally and live a happy, healthy life that matters. 

Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814 – 1880) was an American preacher, poet and editor of the Christian Leader.

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