The Richard Wilson legacy

While out on the road listening to my car radio I got to listen to an episode in the Richard Wilson “Believe it” series, based on his own auto-biography, titled “Legacy”. Richard Wilson is a comedian, well known for playing the character Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom “One Foot in the Grave”. In this episode Richard dreams he is dead and a friend is giving a tribute on the Radio 4 Today program. As a result he considers the legacy he will leave behind, and he ponders the best way to bequeath something to the next generation. What follows is a number of amusing scenarios, like bequeathing each year for the next 150 years a season ticket for Manchester United football games to some worthy recipient, that details his attempts.

I enjoyed the program and it got me thinking again of the sort of legacy I might leave. It seems as one grows old, death becomes a real prospect and one’s own capabilities become more limited, the thought of leaving something worthwhile for the next generation becomes that more pressing, at least that has been my experience. Most of us will leave fairly ordinary lives and there will be no great act that will be remembered for generations to come, and within a few years of dying we will be forgotten. For the religious, there is the prospect of life after death and the life of the here and now is but a preparation for the life that is to come. For the non religious, death is the end but some comfort might be drawn if we can do something useful and pass on something that benefits those who are left behind and who are yet to be born and in doing so something of us lives on.

It seems to me being a good neighbour, husband / wife, father / mother is within the reach of us all, doing simple acts of kindness, especially to those who cannot repay and are more likely to be neglected, being / doing the best we can in whatever area we operate in, and passing on things that may be of use to those who come after us, being of a generous spirit and looking out for those in heed are all ways we can leave a worthwhile legacy. The real life Richard has already left a legacy through his craft and I wish him well. My own motivation is the prospect of meeting my Savior / Judge, realizing here below I am at best merely an “unprofitable servant” yet hearing from His lips the words “well done good and faithful servant”.

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