A Lasting Legacy

A Lasting Legacy

By Carter Severns

A few months ago I went with my family back to my birthplace of Wichita, Kansas. We made the trip to help my grandparents prepare to move out of their house and into an active retirement community.

This is the same house that I had been visiting for as much as I can remember of my 25 years on this Earth. It had been nearly ten years since I had been back there.

house
My grandparent’s house in Wichita, KS.

I stepped through the door and was instantly overwhelmed with nostalgia. It was the same feeling you get when you hear an old song or smell a familiar scent. You’re whisked away and thrust into a fond memory for a brief moment in time.  

Over the few days we spent there, we continually uncovered different items from throughout my grandpa’s lifetime. We found his elementary school report cards. We found books of his family lineage. We found family heirlooms. And we found his legacy.

bookcase
Papa’s police department memorabilia.

With each piece we dusted off, my parents or grandma had a story to go with it. My grandpa is now into his late 70’s and his memory has started to fade, but what hasn’t faded are the stories that describe him.  

His passion for his cars and tending to his garden. His relentless tickling of and love for his grandkids. His grit and toughness. His determination to provide for his family. His working as a police officer during the day while starting a myriad of businesses by night to make ends meet.

car 2
Papa and his VW Beetle.

 All of his character qualities that were exposed through these stories are the building blocks of the legacy that my grandpa has constructed over his lifetime. These traits weren’t created overnight or fabricated by him, because he wasn’t even the one telling the stories. These were built through overcoming adversity and living a life of perseverance.

 All of that leads to me to this thought:

You are creating your legacy every day. You may not realize that or appreciate it right now. But when you are in your senior years, what stories will your family and friends be telling about you?

 Beyond just your family and friends, consider this scenario:

 You have a 20 minute conversation with a stranger while flying on a plane, then that stranger is asked to describe your legacy in a few sentences – what would they say?

Would they tell the story of someone with passion, empathy, enthusiasm for life and a genuine care for those around them? Or would they say otherwise?

 Your legacy is shaped in every interaction that you have, and the way you approach everyday. Whether that stranger from the plane is around to help write your eulogy isn’t the point.

 What lasts is your influence on your friends, coworkers, family and anyone else you come across. What lasts is the message you portray, that will one day form your legacy.

all
(Yes, we all put one of his jackets on.)

 

6 comments

  • This was just outstanding to read Carter. These memories have also helped to shape you and the sibs. Insights propel maturity and foster your own legacy. You’re on your way!!!

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  • I AM A FIRST COUSIN TO TROY. I WAS RAISED IN WATERFORD, CA .SO DID NOT SPEND MUCH TIME WITH TROY OR WITH THE REST OF THAT FAMILY (THO WE VISITED WHEN EVER WE CAME BACK HOME) THE OZARKS WERE ALWAYS HOME. MY SISTER AND I GOT TO SEE THEM AT AUNT CHARSIE’S FUNERAL. ALSO TROY AND BOBBY AND WIVES CAME BY TO SEE US. IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE THEM I WOULD LIKE TO MEET THESE NEW COUSINS. I KNOW WE ARE SCATTERED ALL LOVER THE COUNTRY, WE MAY NEVER MEET BUT I AM ON FB AND SEND ANY OTHER NEWS TO THE REST OF MY FAMILY. DALLAS COULTER WAS MY FATHER. TROY CAN TELL YOU STORIES ABOUT HIM. EVELYN COULTER ICKS.

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    • Eveleyn,

      Thanks so much for the response and for reaching out, it was great to hear from you!

      Like

  • This says it all.Troy left a wonderful legacy. I can think and name many many wonderful things he did,said, and practiced.

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  • Beautifully written and a wonderful tribute. Carter and Parker, fond memories of your Grandpa, Grandma and you two on the Wichita FUMC church work trips, one to West Virginia with Carter and one to Boulder with Parker. I think about you boys every so often and wonder what you are doing. I know your Grandpa’s legacy lives boldly on through you both.
    Blessings and love,
    Kay Bartel

    Like

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