Last week, Jay and I were invited to Pepperdine to speak at its chapel service (over 1,000 students--very cool---will write about it later). We always love going back to Malibu ("Going Back to Malibu 1" & "2") since it was the first place our little family called home. Despite the bittersweet reminders of the idyllic life we once lived there, each time we return, hope overwhelms the hurt as we make a whole new set of memories.
Pepperdine was kind enough to put us up in its wonderful on-campus hotel the night before our talk, so we took the chance to hit up a few of our favorite places. As glamorous as it can be, Malibu is still a bit of a sleepy beach town, so the main area of activity centers around the Malibu Country Mart just down the hill from Pepperdine. We wheeled over there around dusk as a cold ocean breeze was blowing in. To our delight, we saw a new addition to this area, one that had been in the works the entire time we were living in Malibu years ago.
Legacy Park is a lovely and calming little oasis, nestled right next to the Pacific Coast Highway, a true testament to Malibu's ongoing desire to experience and protect the natural beauty of Southern California's coast. It was amazing to see this immense project come to fruition since the last time I was there. Of course, it wasn't a far jump for me to consider the passage of time and the legacy of my own life, as I sat amidst the golden grasses and rolling hills of Legacy Park, especially as I watched my own little living legacy, James, running playfully up the path toward the setting sun.
Right around five years ago, I was living in Malibu, pregnant and co-leading the women's retreat for Bel Air Pres along with the amazing Suzi Rockett. For some reason, the Lord put it on my 25-year old heart to make the theme of the retreat "Leaving a Legacy". We even had speakers from three different generations sharing their insights on this. I was asked to be the "younger generation" speaker. I spoke about our identity in Christ (listen to it here), which ultimately provides us with the greatest and most long-lasting legacy we could ever hope for--a legacy in Christ.
Our desire for lasting significance in this world motivates every one of us in how we live our lives. However, no matter how well-intentioned, a focus on leaving an earthly legacy falls short of the mark. Having great buildings or parks or ideas stamped with our names, even pouring ourselves completely into our kids in hopes of creating some lasting impression of ourselves for the future cannot on its own create a true legacy.
At some point, all of those things will be gone.
James is (currently) my greatest legacy in this world, but when I am gone and when he is gone and everyone who ever knew his name is gone, my earthly legacy will be gone. However, when we know who we are in the Lord, our legacy doesn't end when the memory of us ends. That is the legacy I want to give James and one I hope he will give his children--a legacy that is eternal.