Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
It was an unwanted legacy. My wife Judy and I have three adult daughters. It is a standing joke in our house that anything that is bad or negative (weight, cholesterol, heart issues, blood pressure, etc) always come from me…the dad. The good stuff invariably is attributed to the mom. Now there can be no doubt that our daughters get their good looks from her, but I think there might be a little prejudice about this other stuff. I am sure it all can’t possibly come from me. Or can it? You see, sometimes I think that I might, accidentally, unintentionally pass on an unwanted legacy. Let me give you an example.
So back in August of last year I went dancing with my worse girlfriend, Corena. In case you don’t know that was my nickname for the COVID virus. Yes, I had been vaccinated but regardless she asked if I wanted to dance and apparently, I said yes. It wasn’t fun. As COVID cases go, might wasn’t too bad but it was enough to make me glad when the dance was over. Fortunately, as far as I know, no one, including my wife, came down with it. After a week or so, it was all over and in the rearview mirror. No harm, no foul just a bump in the road of life.
Well, late this past fall I started feeling crummy again. I checked in with my doctor and friend and he quickly diagnosed me with the flu—let’s nickname that “Flo”. Now this wasn’t the stomach flu…this was the real deal. I’m not sure if it was Type A or Type B but I do know it was the kind that made you want to die. It, like Corena, lasted long enough for me not to want to have it again and I was glad when she waltzed out of the room.
Well, it all started on a Friday evening. I developed a cough and just started crashing. Unfortunately, three of my grandsons were spending the night and not knowing what the deal was…they just cuddled up with “Papa.” As the night went on it was apparent that I had something, but we just didn’t know what. The next day they all loaded up and went home and I went to bed. At the time I didn’t know what I had but I hated that I might have infected them. My diagnosis didn’t arrive until Sunday and the bad news came on Monday.
Yup…my daughter called and two of the three had an unexpected, unwanted legacy. It wasn’t high blood pressure, or cholesterol, or hair loss…it was the flu. Fortunately, there weren’t any complications, but they sure felt lousy for several days. I can remember Judy talking on her phone to our daughter with the speaker on and I could hear one of coughing and it just broke my heart. Unexpected, unintentional, or not…I had infected, impacted them. It was an unexpected, unwanted legacy.
Well, all that thankfully is in the rearview mirror but the whole deal left me with an important lesson. Whether it is a health deal or some other sort of deal, we need to understand and realize that we are all impacting those around us. And, often, it is the ones closest to us…the ones we love the most. Of course, there are plenty of good legacies and for those we can and should be grateful and proud. But there are others…actions and words that scar or habits that hurt…that we need to arrest so we can avoid passing them down and around. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take our “legacy temperature” frequently. Perhaps we should ask and honestly answer the question, “Is there something that might be a story, a memory, a habit that might be an unwanted legacy?” If there is, we should take action to stop it or change it. The good news is- rarely is it too late to stop before there is an unwanted impact or infection.
It’s probably not the best verse for this story but it sure rings true. Paul, the one who wrote a bunch of the New Testament Bible said, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Usually, bad company is intentional, and unexpected and unwanted legacies are not…but the outcome can be same. So, starting today, ask the hard questions and make sure what you are leaving behind is not only worth sharing but a story that would make others smile. Need a little help? I know just the one…my Dearest Daddy. He is always there, always willing to help. He’s got this too. Bro. Dewayne