Yesterday Hayley and I visited the Smith Gilbert Gardens. The Hiram Butler House was built in 1882 and is surrounded by 16 acres of sculptures and gardens. As you can see from my photos it is lovely, serene and lush with 3,000 different plants. There is a rose garden, several water features and nature paths with a surprise around every corner. There are sculptures everywhere and the paths frequently have benches along them where you can stop to rest and spend a few moments in reflection and contemplation.
As we walked the paths, discussed the meaning of the sculptures and photographed the gorgeous flowers, I had to wonder about the creation of all this beauty. Being a gardener and plant lover myself, I was awed by the enormity of the project and yet the thoughtfulness and planning of it all. What were the people like who created this? How did they decide for instance to include a Japanese tea house and a circle of prayer flags? How long did it take and were they satisfied with the results? All of this got me to thinking about the legacy that each of us create and leave behind. It doesn't necessarily have to be something as extravagant as 16 acres of gardens. It could be the example of integrity and character that we leave for our grandchildren. It could be a difference that we made in the life of a stranger. It could be an exemplary career. Whatever it is, there is a part of our unique spirit and our God given purpose left for everyone to see. What about you? What is your legacy?