"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"
Years ago, I heard it for the first time. It was very impactful. However, ever since then, when I hear it, or read it, the impact runs deeper. What is it? Simply this - "As you go through life, there are three parts. The first is learning, the second is earning, and the last should be returning".
A couple years ago, when my wife had a big shindig for my 60th birthday, my former mentor from the Navy was able to attend. He is a man who is a tireless giver. Without his help and support, my career in the Navy would have been much different, and probably much shorter. At the party he said something I had not heard before. He told my family that my legacy to the the unit happened at the end of my career. I would tell junior officers that our main purpose was to train our replacements. In other words, in my career I learned, then I earned, and at the end, I returned. It turns out it was a microcosm of how my life was meant to be.
As I age, I think about how this old adage applies to my life. I have been very blessed. I was able to get a good education as well as having great role models to learn from. I was able to find rewarding and diverse employment and make good wages for over 35 years. That being said, now I that I have entered the returning phase of my life, I do believe this will be the most exciting of the three.
Americans are for the most part cheerful givers. We help each other, we help the less fortunate in the world. We have a tremendous capacity to give. Nobody demands that we do this - it is part of our fiber. What I have been mulling is this - how can I return the blessings that I have received for so many years? Not only the tangible ones, but the intangible also. I believe our legacy is build on that. Anyone can be fortunate enough to make a small fortune - it was is done with that fortune with it that will build a legacy.
Someone once said that a rich man can only be successful if he dies broke. In other words, riches earned acquired are to be used, not hoarded. Unlike ancient Egyptians, who were buried with their treasure to take to the great beyond, we don't throw money in coffins. All money is made to be used. Even money in the bank is only there as a place holder. That money too, in meant to be used.
However, as important as sharing our resources are, I also think sharing the wisdom we have learned or gained is important. As wisdom has been given to us, we need to pass it forward. Not only wisdom, but also setting good examples of how to live life as we have learned from those who came before us. Tradition, heritage and then legacy. In other words, we are here to train our replacements.
It is exciting. There is no rule book, no recipe. The sky is the limit on how to return blessings. As we have been blessed, we can return those blessings to others. Learning, earning and now returning. As with desert after a fine meal, the best really is yet to come...