What is a legacy? Everyone speaks of LEAVING A LEGACY, but no one really talks about what that looks like, or what it is. The second entry from dictionary.com defines ‘legacy ‘as anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. Well, that is unhelpful. That could be anything, good or bad. When people speak of LEAVING A LEGACY, I feel a vague sense of urgency, expectation, and failure. I blame Gary Smalley and John Trent. If you have never read their book, The Blessing, I would highly recommend it. But still, here I sit…
Dell Tyson passed away last month. She was an incredible person. Inspiring, encouraging, and at times infuriating. She was my professional Supervisor, Cheerleader, Encourager, and at times, Butt-Kicker. A lot of people have supported me in my professional development, but none like Dell. She had high expectations for me, and she was not shy in vocalizing them.
Dell’s funeral was filled with few professional colleagues. At first, I did not get that. Why weren’t more professionals here? Don’t they know what she has contributed to our profession? Do they understand how much we stand on her shoulders? Then, an amazing thing happened. Alan, her husband began naming different groups of people that she has touched: church members, Break-Through attendees, people she supervised, and clients. There were a lot of people at her service, and the majority of them were people God brought into her life to help. Families strengthened, marriages saved, failing relationships salvaged, and me.
Dell used to tell me that her greatest goal was to be competent as a counselor. Competent?!? To me, competent was barely above sufficient and not doing harm. Competent actually means properly qualified to do a job. Competent is a high bar.
One of the last things Dell and I talked about was her expectations for me. She expected me to strive to be competent, as she was. I felt like she was passing on the mantle of responsibility to me. To view everyone who passed through my door as someone God has brought to me, to seek to always educate myself in this ever changing field, to show compassion, to be caring to everyone, and to be kind. This is a heavy responsibility to bear; however, it is one that I embrace, because it is one that puts me on my face before God every day. That is a good thing. It is a legacy I hope I leave.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.