As I write this, It’s Easter morning. The sun is shining. It’s a nice day. I can’t help thinking back over 40 years ago, to a Good Friday in 1971 that changed my life.
I was in High School then, out for a cross-country road run with a couple of track buddies, both with the last name of Richardson… no relation. The day was cool and overcast,and we ran through the rolling hills of West Covina, California. As we came over the ridge, we faced the open pit of a large toxic waste dump. The bulldozers were plowing trash into piles and chemical trucks were pumping their toxic wares into underground pits. Seagulls were in the air along with the putrid smell of rotting trash.
We entered the dump around the upper perimeter and started to run on a long downhill path. As I came around a curve, I tripped over a large rock and fell to the ground.
I let out a yell, and using the Lord’s name in vain, cursed the rock, the path, and the stupid dump.
My running companions stopped and looked at me and my tantrum.
One of them asked a simple question…
“Why did you curse God?”
I stammered to come up with an answer.
Over the next five minutes, The two guys with my last name, told me a story about Jesus and how he died for me. They told me about his love and his forgiveness.
They asked me to pray a simple prayer. To admit to God that I was a sinner, and ask Him to forgive me and ask Him to come in and change my life.
I was suddenly confronted with a decision.
I looked out across that vast expanse of dirt and debris. The piles of trash and toxic waste were huge. The smell was overwhelming. I realized that that was what my life looked like inside. I was an angry young man, full of deceit and vitriol. I was mad at the world.
My life stunk!
Right then and there, I made a decision that would change my life forever.
I got down on my knees and prayed a simple prayer of repentance.
As the words crossed my lips, thoughts of all the anger, lies, and sin seemed to be covered over. When I got up, I looked up and the sun had broken through the clouds.
That bright light almost blinded me.
It was like God saying… Welcome home.
Over the next weeks, months, and years, my life slowly changed. The anger disappeared, and I was able to forgive those who had hurt me. I got plugged in to a local church.
Light came into my life.
I was changed.
Fast forward, 41 years.
Something profound happened to me.
For days I had been searching for a compelling idea to write about. I put down all the words that have been pivotal in my life onto cards and put them on a desk in front of me. I was searching for a title, word, or acronym that would form the basis of a new book. For hours I played with letters, words, topics, and ideas.
Nothing seemed to click.
The more I sorted the more confused I got.
Finally I was ready to give up. I started to walk away.
Out of the corner of my eye, my mind picked up a pattern.
I moved cards around and Viola…
A word appeared.
It was simple, yet profound.
Five cards, with five strong tenets on them, spelled out…
L = Legacy
I = Impact
G = Goals
H = Habits
T = Time
This simple word brought back vivid memories and meaning.
It was almost like the clouds had parted again
Five words that can change your life.
And the lives of others.
Let’s get started.
Legacy starts tomorrow.