A couple days ago, the Zuchelli Clan arrived in the Outer Banks for a week of R-and-R, bonding, and general all-around revelry. There are twenty of us (including a couple friends), and we range in age from a one year old to one hundred and seventeen years (actually I’m not that old, but I feel like it at the end of each day).
Last night, my boys and I were discussing a return engagement—maybe not to the sea but possibly to the mountains. Where we go wouldn’t be the important factor, of course. The matter of significance would be that we would all be together again for a while. We’re scattered across the eastern seaboard, and these events are few and far between.
As we briefly discussed the possibilities, it occurred to me that I might want to do this as often as feasible. I’m the old geezer of the band, and I suppose my days are numbered. I don’t say that with a sense of morbidity, it’s just a fact of life.
Establishing the Legacy
Not only do I want to see my family—and enjoy their interactions in one place—I want my grandchildren to remember who I am after I’m gone from their lives. I guess that’s what they call a legacy. One of the reasons I wrote my first book (The Last Wedding) was to leave some sort of heritage behind for them. Someday they can pull a copy of the book off their shelf, hand it to a friend, and say, “This is my grandfather. You would have liked him.”
I’m not exactly sure why, but my weird train of thought following this discussion led me to a Barbra Streisand movie released back in 1970 entitled “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.” As I recall, it had something to do with clairvoyance and looking back into the past. The more memorable part of the cinema was the theme song sung by Barbara herself (On a Clear Day). Barbra’s politics drive me crazy, but I love her voice. My thoughts were taking me in the opposite direction—the future.
As is probably the case with most of us, I often wonder what my future holds. Scripture contains an interesting verse that says, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures.” (Psalm 90:10) It’s not to be taken literally, but it’s definitely a reminder that we are mortal. It’s also a reminder that my first seventy years is almost up.
One of the things I find a bit unsettling as I surrounded myself with my tribe is that I’m the patriarch. As such, I’m supposed to be the one with some wisdom to pass along to the next generations. I’m not sure I have all that much to dispense, but I do my best.
Whatever the future holds, I’m going to do my darndest to leave some love behind if nothing else. That seems to be the best legacy of all.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently the pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]