Don’t forget to do good
and to share what you have
because God is pleased
with these kinds of sacrifices.
The desk is empty. Gone are the stacks of papers, the books, the binders. Gone are the sticky notes, the pens, the notebooks, the computer. And the drawers are empty, the pictures are off the walls, and the plant is gone. After this weekend, another person will take over the position I’m leaving, and I’ll move on to my next assignment. Nothing of mine is left behind.
I hope, though, I’ve left one thing behind. I hope I’ve left my part of the world a little better off than I found it. In the work I was given to do, I hope I’ve left behind something good and lasting. I know I’ve made mistakes along the way, but if I can look back and see I’ve made some positive difference, too, that will be enough.
The world is full of turmoil. Politicians, their puppets, and the patrons pulling the strings seem to revel in amping up anxiety and exacerbating division. Misinformation, misdirection, and mendacity muddle our minds making it nearly impossible to trust what we hear about current events. Innocent people are pawns in ideological wars. Social media is a swirl of name calling and fear mongering. The events in the news have us so frustrated that even our personal relationships are stressed and strained.
When we get to the end of the day, though, will we be able to look back and say “I’ve left nothing behind but something good and lasting”? Sure, we make mistakes along the way, but can we aim for making a positive difference–leaving behind us a world a little better off than we found it?
Can we step out of the fray long enough to remind ourselves that, despite all clamor and rancor, the highest aim of living is simply adding some more love to our world? And when I say “love,” I don’t mean making the world more personally comfortable but, rather, treating people with compassion and kindness, caring for the vulnerable, adding to people’s joy, and creating a little more peace where we can.
In the end, all the possessions, all the accomplishments, all the beliefs we’ve held, all the politics and patriotism, and all the things we’ve said and done, they all get boxed up, and they don’t amount to a thing if we’ve not left our world with more love than we found when we got here.
Maybe the way to do it is to simply start with today. At the end of this day, can I look back on what I’ve done, clear the mess off the desk, and say, “I’ve left nothing behind but something good and lasting”?
Do some good. Share some love. That’s all you really need to leave behind.