I am incredibly touched by the story of Jared Noel. But what amazes me is the legacy he is leaving upon his death. What I love is that this letter will not only be read by his daughter when she is old enough, but millions of women, young and old will read it too, and be touched.
“Leave a legacy”, he says. What an encouragement this is to all of us. I believe these words need to be heard by more girls out there, hence why I am reblogging it here…
This is reposted from an article on ohBABY!
I cannot create a pithy saying or a three-word catch phrase to live by. Life, to me, seems far too complex to be abbreviated to such small word counts. Instead, I want to offer you a sense of identity, a sense of purpose and an understanding of where you came from, so you can then determine where you will go. The world is your oyster, to make of it what you will. My hope is to give you the opportunity to be the best you can be.
Having said this, ultimately any principle or ideal must still be communicated in words or they remain in the realm of the ethereal, never having concrete relevance. To that end, here is an attempt to communicate to you what matters to your family — as words to live by, and hopefully words to die by.
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As a family of faith, this verse expresses what matters most to us. Elise, we want to encourage you to live a life of mercy, justice and compassion. We want you to love others and to learn to put them first, especially those who are less fortunate than us. This is how you can make your mark on the world, by being part of the bigger picture of humanity, and this is how you can honour your loving God.
Read, learn and travel
Read widely and never stop learning. Travel to both the developed and developing worlds. Ask questions, challenge the status quo and discover that life in middle-class New Zealand is only how the privileged 5% of the world lives. Your mum and I believe that with this privilege comes responsibility; to use our time, wealth and skills to help others. Our world view, narrow or wide, is shaped by our upbringing and education. Reading, learning and travelling will broaden your horizons, develop an understanding of life and grow a respect for people of all faiths and ethnicities.
Pause, reflect, breathe
Life will be busy but we should always take time to pause, to reflect and to breathe; to look back on a journey past or ahead to a journey planned; to contemplate the complexities of politics or the simplicity of a plate of food. We hope you will learn to appreciate the small things so you then can appreciate the larger things even more.
It’s okay to cry when you are sad, and rejoice when you are happy. Life will always be a contrasting kaleidoscope of experiences and emotions; taking time to drink them in gives perspective, wisdom and an understanding of yourself and your place in this world.
Elise, I won’t be around to remind you to say “please”, “thank you” or “sorry”. Instead, I will try to leave a legacy that instills a sense of compassion and respect for others where pleasantries will naturally follow. I won’t always be able to comfort you when you’re sad, or reassure you when your confidence is low, but I hope you know that I will always be there for you, even when I am physically absent.
I hope that in knowing who your father was, you will be able to choose who you want to be…
Love, Dad xoxo
If you haven’t already, check out more on Jared Noel’s story at jarednoel.wordpress.com