This is the first time I have ever shared my column with another person, but in this case I am delighted to do so. The primary writer is my brother, "Whitey". He is retired after more than 37 years with the public schools of Anderson, Indiana, where he was a highly successful coach and administrator.

His column speaks for itself.

"All of us leave a story behind regardless of our power, prestige or possessions. Many times we place too much emphasis on those things and fail to realize that true happiness comes from relationships. The relationships with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors are the real stories that we leave behind."

"My son, Dennis, is a thirty-one year old mentally handicapped young man. He loves the church and understands the importance of living a Christ centered life. Recently he volunteered to keep the upholstered chairs in our church clean. The First Baptist Church of Naples, FL, has a seating capacity of two thousand and it takes Dennis many hours each week to brush every chair. I supervise his work and serve as helper and job coach."

"We always have prayer before we begin each Monday morning, asking God to bless each person who will sit on the chairs we clean that week. We pray for their families, our pastor and his family, and all of the staff members including the 'Premise Keepers' of this large campus."

"As the work progresses we observe many things about those who worship at our church. We know where the animal lovers have been seated, where the children have been, and if the head master at our school has brought the students to the sanctuary for a special assembly. The children are special, and we enjoy finding small bits of grass on the seats that they leave behind following a fun time on the playground. These telltale signs make us realize the importance of the legacy of our life."

"I am reminded of the poem: 'Little Eyes Upon You', and wonder about the story we are leaving behind for those little eyes."

There are little eyes upon you and watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager to do anything you do and
A little boy [girl] who is dreaming to grow up and be just like you.

"As parents, grandparents, teachers, church leaders, etc., we must live a life that glorifies our Lord and never forget the powerful influence that we have on others. Paul urges Titus to be an example of good deeds, sound in speech which is beyond reproach so that our opponents will have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8)."

"What is the story that we have left behind as we have changed neighborhoods, jobs or churches? What is the story that we have left behind for our children and grandchildren? Will that story be one that will glorify our Lord or will the flaws of our character taint the images of the little eyes that are upon us? Jesus instructed his disciples to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). If we put God first in our lives and live every hour of every day with our eyes on him, we will leave a story that will make our children and grandchildren proud. They will swell with pride as they share for generations the story about the special one who walked his/her talk and lived a life practicing the 'Golden Rule'. Wouldn't that be a wonderful story to leave behind?"

I am thankful that "Whitey" made this story available. It speaks volumes of important truth. You can contact him at: Eldridge F. "Whitey" Ellis, 3131 Sundance Circle, Naples, FL 34109. Phone: 239-592-9183. Email: Pellis415@aol.com. Perhaps I can persuade him to help me again.

647 words

Copyright © 2002 Bill Ellis. All rights reserved.