I believe a person’s legacy outweighs their words. I am reminded of this when I see a small plush toy armadillo.
Ever since I can remember, I would enter my great-grandparents house, welcomed by the sights of home. One of the first things I would see is a toy armadillo sitting on their television. My Ging-Ging, as we call him, would scob my nob (rub my head) with his nub (he lost his left hand) and say Hee-blaa to me. These things may seem strange, but the smile on his face and the sound of his voice still warm my heart.
Now, when I walk in the door of that same house, I see my Great-Grandma with her love and affection, but I turn, and Ging-Ging’s chair stands empty. No scob-a-nob. No Hee-blaa, just emptiness. Even though I can’t hear his voice, his legacy lives through the silence. I see the armadillo and smile at the memories he has left behind.
As I look at that armadillo, I realize how much it has seen. How it has faithfully sat there, day in and day out: all the Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, all the years of playing and scampering. Through all the times of strife and happiness it has been there. I see what it has seen, and suddenly, Ging-Ging’s chair doesn’t feel so empty.
The armadillo carries the memories that Ging-Ging left behind. As his legacy is brought back to me, I feel as though he is with me. It is almost as if the space in his chair is more of a leave of absence than total death. I know I will see him again someday when I go to meet my creator; but until then, that armadillo will keep his legacy alive, not just for me, but for my whole family.
To anyone else, the armadillo has no special meaning, it’s just a toy. But to me, it is a reminder of the legacy my Ging-Ging left behind; of the big shoes he left for his family to try to fill; of the special memories each and every one of us have of him.
He never was much of a talker, and the things he did say weren’t earth shattering. He just lived his life for his lord, and always thought of others before himself. He was a great example to his family and neighbors. I will never forget the impact he had on me.
All I hear from Ging-Ging’s chair now is silence. Yet that silence speaks volumes, and along with that silence is the armadillo. I feel as though his legacy is screaming at me. It is a constant reminder to never sell myself short, to try my hardest, to be humble, and to love others and the lord. So now I ‘m going to build a legacy, because I believe a person’s legacy outweighs their words.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.