|Remember The Jewel
Legacy - Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.
In a perfect world, sixteen year old boys would not be the benefactors of legacies. Their lives in this world are much too abbreviated to comfortably consider the legacies they pass on to others. And yet, when sixteen year old boys pass from this realm to the next, through their circumstance they inevitably leave behind many things worthy of consideration for those who remain behind. We embrace these things at our leisure and ignore them at our peril.
Jacob's legacy paints a picture in my mind of a simultaneously beautiful and horrible jewel; a gemstone of inestimable worth, cut & polished with many mirrored, reflective facets. It is a jewel that is exceedingly difficult to own and hold, yet one so valuable I dare not release it or set it down. As I examine this jewel from many angles, the reflections from the facets help me understand it's beauty and horror. It is a jewel crafted by many hard blows and and many soft polishings, from many jewelers great and small. It is a jewel given to us in this life by our Creator for a short period of time, then taken away to another with the promise of being returned. I am both humbled and honored by those who added the beauty to this jewel. I am filled with seething rage by those who added the horror.
Jacob's legacy is one of lessons both learned and unlearned. He taught many the value of a smile and a few kind words. Through him enemies became friends. Through him and because of him individual differences were set aside, while similarities were put into focus. He showed by example that perseverance and determination are qualities one must cultivate and use in order to succeed; that persistent determination is the key to success. He taught us that irrevokable change can come in an instant, and so we must prepare ourselves. He taught us that sacrifice can ultimately become a reward if we allow it. His presence added these values to the lives of most of those he encountered. This is one measure of the beauty of the jewel.
Jacob's legacy is one of memories both heartwarming and tragic. His passing gives rise to protracted examples of both selflessness and selfishness by those whose lives he touched. Through his death he exposed the kindness and generosity of so many people, and that so many people in this world are filled to the brim with kindness and generosity. This is another measure of the beauty of the jewel.
Tragically, his death also teaches us that there are some who walk this earth who will steadfastly refuse to accept their responsibility, choosing instead to pass their self-created burdens onto others by any means necessary or possible. His death is even used by one person to cast blame on everyone around for her own irresponsible actions and to justify her years of contemptous disdain for those to which she is indebted. This person refers to Jacob as her Guardian Angel, and yet for the purpose of her own evasion assigns the value of his life as one single dollar. She is relieved and satisfied to force others to bear her indebtedness, calling it a miracle. This is the foul lesson she teaches her own children, by word and by example. Guard yourselves when caught around her; protect your children from her. Learn to recognize those like her. Learn this lesson of Jacob's legacy; this reprehensible greed and utter lack of remorse is the horror of the jewel.
Just as a pebble tossed into a still pond sends ripples out in all directions, Jacob's death has been a huge boulder plunged into the unsettled sea of our family's lives. The waves created crash out in all directions around us, crashing hardest against those closest to him, and those closest to us. The waves drive those closest to us closer still, and those distant from us still further away. The waves elevate the faith of some while they submerge the faith of others. There are many waves which have already passed; many more are still to come.
Have pity on them whose faith the waves have submerged! Encourage them to hold on to their life's preserver for a little while longer! Help float them through the next wave so they may be elevated by it; don't let the next wave submerge them further still.
Those who can, remember my son and profit from his legacy. Remember the jewel.