The Legacies We Receive

Howard Myrle Short was born in Archbold, Ohio in 1932. As a conscientious objector at the time, he was stationed in Vermont during WWII to work at a psychiatric hospital. While living there he married a gem of a woman, a warrior of “waste not, want not” who is equal parts wit and work ethic. They went on to have four children and raised their family splitting time between their homes in Vermont and Florida. As a couple they’ve spent their years showing horses, owning a campground, helping to start a church and have worn countless other hats that showcase both their skills and Christian faith.

Howard loves golf, having his family together and all kinds of sweets. He was an elder at his church for 27 years and has read through the Bible 62 times. He is playful. He lives life with depth and an indescribable richness. He emanates warmth to all he encounters. His faith in Jesus is steadfast and he is joyful because of this.

And most significantly for me, he is my Grandpa.

He is a worthy teacher of how to live this life well by anyone’s standards. From him, I’ve learned how to play all of the best card games and to never, ever cheat by taking the stickers off a Rubix cube. I watched and learned that the right response to trials and hardship can be in the form of tears or a hearty smile, both drenched in the unwavering hope of whats to come. I learned that there never needs to be an excuse to have a treat because it’s always the right time. I learned that what we have is not our own, but rather we get to share in the joy of letting it all be used for greater purposes whether it be our home, our time or our money. The wisdom he has shared and shown can’t be quantified for it has woven itself into the very being of those who’ve lived life with him.

But to allude that he is merely what he’s taught contradicts the most important thing that I’ve learned from him. That it’s not about me. Relationships are not about me. This life is not about me. It’s about so much more.

We tend to think of legacy as something someone leaves once they’re gone, but it’s not. It’s something that is continually being built onto. It’s what we are even now building. We are already living the lives, making the decisions that are shaping us and those around us. We’re doing the things that someday our kids and their kids will say, “This is the story of my mom, I am who I am because of her.” What responsibility and what a privilege we have!

What is the legacy that you have begun for those that are coming after you? What will your grandkids memories of you be? I certainly hope it’s not that I had 2,000 Facebook friends and always chose the best Instagram filter (neither of which is even accurate of me). I want my grandkids to think of me fondly and revere me, the way I do my Grandpa. 

And as a parent, what are we doing if not passing on to our children the wisdom from those who have gone before us. Whether they’re ahead by 5, 25, or 55 years. They are here now and a wealth of life experience. Dig in and soak it up. And from those who have already passed on, we have a chance to recollect and cherish what they’ve left us. 

To my dear Grandpa Short, 

You have run the race and fixed your eyes on Jesus, the perfecter, and pioneer of our faith. And you are building us a legacy that I can only pray we carry on. 

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