16 July 2012

legacy // the importance of you [by lucia]

old photos

I was looking through a one-hundred-year-old scrapbook of family photos the other day. I just sat on my porch for an hour with a creamsicle in my hand and a laurel bush over my head, looking at wrinkled brown images of the people of my past. The faces within the scrapbook were young and old, serious and laughing, men and women. I knew some names, simply from words passed down through the generations, but I knew none of them, and that struck me as funny--because these were my family, the ones that caused me to be. And yet they were strangers.

As I flipped through the brittle pages, I came upon one photo which I knew well: a pretty young woman wearing an old-fashioned white summer dress and carrying a lace parasol; laughing, as if captured candidly on her way to a summer picnic.  The image was dated August, 1922, and captioned in fading elegant handwriting, "Elsa, age sixteen." My great-grandmother, long dead and whom I never knew, but whose face was bright and lovely and real in the image I gazed at. As real then as I am now. 

It got me thinking about legacy.
And the importance of me.

...Me, sixteen-year-old Lucia, the girl who never sees herself as important for anything--the one who shrinks from attention and considers herself very much in the average zone. Nevertheless, as I looked through the photographs of ancient people with ancient lives in far away times whom I have always thought of as "far-off" and much more important in the family linkage than I could ever be, I realized something: these people were average. Just like me.

I look at that photo of Elsa and know her as a woman who was a hard worker, a kind soul, and someone who loved the Lord. She didn't write a book, she wasn't a famous speaker--she was only a Swedish housewife with babies and chores--, but words about the way she lived her life still passed their way down through the generations. Her legacy--her work, her kindness, her Christianity--is known to a great-granddaughter she never even thought of. I only see her photo, yet I admire her and her legacy. And I know I would love to be defined in the three ways she is, even years after she has ceased to exist.

Have you ever thought about your legacy? What you are leaving behind? The importance of you, yes, you, even as ordinary as you are, in your place as the possible linkage to a new generation? What do you want to be passed down through your life to a future great-granddaughter? Do you want a photo of you in a future decade-old scrapbook to be known  simply by age and a name to her, or do you want to be different?

If it is the Lord's will for me to marry and to have children, I want my children and the great-great-great-grandchildren coming after them who will never know me to look at a photo of me and think exactly what I think about Great-Grandmother Elsa.

Time travel isn't possible. Even the most protected time capsule can disintegrate. Messages written on paper fade and are lost; even great actions are forgotten. How we live our lives now is the only way to send a truly indestructible message to our future generations--and it's called our legacy.

Thank you to the darling Jess for allotting me this soapbox on her marvelous blog today. Happy travels in York amongst the coffee shops and the window boxes, lovely! 

//photos via pinterest//


Lucia {LOO-SEE-UH} blogs at Lucia, Etc., where she writes about daily life, faith, photography, girl struggles, and strives to be a Light in this world of darkness. She plays the piano, writes poetry, watches chick flicks, and has the goal to not let a day pass without a good laugh. 


  1. I loved this. But I have to ask... how did you manage to make that creamsicle last a whole hour? ;)

  2. Lucia my dear, YOU are a genius. Please, please, please do us all a favour and write a book. Beautiful post, beautiful words. Just amazing.

  3. Wow. This really struck a chord with me. I've kind of been thinking similar things recently, seeing photos of long-dead relatives whose names I don't even know. There they are, caught in a moment, and it's kind of scary to realize that in as many years it could be my photography making some great-great-grandkid wonder.
    Beautiful post, Lucia. :)

  4. lovely post! It's so true! It's rather funny, I just was looking through all the photos/books/letters in the big trunk in my living room--it was all these foreign faces that made me feel like I should know them, haha!

  5. Wow...great post Lucia! Couldn't have said it better myself. :)

  6. Absolutely stunning; your words, your pictures, yourself - everything. Thank you. So much.


  7. What a great post! Love it, Lucia!

  8. Beautiful post. What a blessing to have so many photos of generations before you. What a blessing our families are.


  9. Very true. Just found your blog - it is lovely. And this reflection was rather beautiful : )