My initial reaction was uncertainty. I didn’t know what to expect as I walked into Dingmann Funeral Care in Maple Lake, Minnesota at 3:00 pm on a chilly Saturday afternoon in mid-November. I saw family, friends, and flowers. … Flowers? Hundreds of beautifully vibrant flowers draped around the room from loved ones supporting the loss of Christopher Churchill, a beloved son, brother, friend, hunting buddy, carbles partner, and to me, a cousin. Although these flowers may not appear significant, they have impacted me greatly, just as Christopher has to many around him.
Every year, thousands of people spend money to go to arboretums, greenhouses, and gardens, and even go as far as planting flowers in their home soils as well. They walk and admire the immense beauty that nature brings to their lives. But, many flowers only stay around for a short amount of time (especially in Minnesota) and leave as the seasons change.
I remember when I was 15 years old, my dad bought me a lavender Lantana tree; I know, it was awesome. I took care of it every single day to see it grow higher and higher with the most gorgeous purple blooms you have ever seen. I marveled at the tremendous joy it brought to my life in just one summer! As fall came, my dad told me it was time to bring it into the greenhouse at school so it could survive the winter. However, I wanted to continue to look at the beautiful blooms of the plant and ended up never digging the Lantana out and putting it in the greenhouse. It soon froze and before I knew it, the plant was covered by snow in the yard and I was unable to save it in the greenhouse. I cried for hours about how if I had only taken the plant out, it would be just fine and still thriving.
Looking back on the experience, I discovered that the summer I had watching that Lantana tree grow may have been short, but the amount of knowledge I learned about cultivating plants was largely broadened due to its management. The Lantana tree’s beauty and joy touched my life in a way that nothing else could; it seemed like a connection that could not have carried over into the next season.
Christopher was able to similarly radiate his love for hunting, fishing, life, and those around him in the short 33 years of his life. Many of us have been touched by his kindness and willingness to get any job done for someone. Although we wish we could see him in the next season, his plan from God is different. Christopher’s smile was as large as a Peony bloom and his laugh rustled like the wind in the trees. He truly left a legacy of love and care for all of those around him by showing his true colors.
Alexander Hamilton (kind of) once said:
“Legacy… What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
With the short time you have here on Earth, how are you going to leave your legacy, like Christopher?
How will you make a difference to those around you?
What seeds will YOU plant?
Stationed by the Door,