I had one big wish when I began high school. I wanted to be remembered. Not just a passing, “hey remember that guy.” I wanted to be legendary. Walking into my freshman year, I was desperate that I would somehow accomplish something, anything that would leave a mark on the school and would reverberate throughout the ages. I had dreams of alumni weekend’s decades later when people I never knew would sit around and discuss my accomplishments or my reputation. Of course, I wasn’t picky. It could be a positive accomplishment or one that would make me an urban legend.
It’s not so bad to be an urban legend. Each time a legend is told, the storyteller adds his or her own signature to it. The story grows and changes and you might find yourself hearing stories about yourself that weren’t even close to true, but it gives your memory staying power. I desperately wanted that for myself at Academy.
I cannot say I didn’t try. I have some great stories to tell from Academy, but they have not stood the test of time or risen to occupy anyone’s lasting memory. If I walked onto campus today, I would know that the staff from my time that are still employed remember me based on their experiences with me. However, other than a picture on the wall in the admin building, my legend is in the mist of history.
Pixar delivered a film recently called Coco. Although I definitely don’t subscribe to the spiritualism or the view of the afterlife that the movie uses for it’s structure, the sentiment and the song did hit me deep in the emotional center, or what I call my “feels.” It follows a Mexican boy and his adventure to rescue the memory of his ancestors on the eve of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. (for all those without access to Google translate)
The boy is desperate to find a way to save the memories of many of his relatives as they may be forgotten by those still living. This is a side effect of time. We are known and loved by those we touch in life and in so many cases, after those people have also faded to history, our life and times are summed up on our gravestone for generations beyond. The song that threads it’s way through the movie is titled, “Remember Me.” Sincerely, whoever wrote it didn’t stop working on it until they knew they could get a large 38 year old father to tear up.
I still have the same determination in my heart that I will be remembered and I’m still ok with it being an urban legend. Sometimes we never know what people end up remembering about us and in almost all cases we don’t really have any control over it. Did Abraham Lincoln think his Gettysburg address would be the one speech that would stand the test of time? Did Rosa Parks feel a pulse through the air as she made contact with the seat on that fateful bus?
There are famous or infamous people all over the world who are more determined than I am to be remembered on this earth. They will do almost anything to leave a legacy, whether good or bad; but the catch is, it only exists in this very temporary world.
It’s going to sound cliché, but I’m making an attempt to have my legacy last through the lives that will last with me into eternity. I have a firm foundation, and it is Jesus Christ my Lord. Who needs to be remembered when you’ve got all of eternity to live a life in a legendary way.
So although “Remember Me” is a well-written song, you can have it! I prefer, Amazing Grace and the lyrics:
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright, shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.