where love is alive 

A Friend’s Legacy – What Will Yours Be?

Let me tell you a quick story.  I’ll warn you up front that there’s a definite sadness to it, but I believe there’s also a lesson and an encouragement here.

I had a Facebook friend named Donna…Donna Burns.  She was from Texas, but had relocated to Ohio where she was an Uber driver.  She was a sister in Christ and a real joy to know.  When I say Facebook friend, I mean I didn’t know her outside of Facebook.  I never met her face-to-face.  The same goes for Leslie.  This is all thanks to my cousin Lisa Archer, who had the same type of relationship with Donna.  The difference for Lisa is that she graduated with Donna’s cousin Kevin Burns.  Some of you know Kevin’s parents, Dr. Jim and Doris Burns.  Lisa, Donna, Leslie, and I often interacted through Facebook posts.  Invariably, those interactions were either funny or encouraging…uplifting in one way or another.  Always.  It was a good decision to “friend” this person we’d never met.  It allowed us all to stay closer and to know better what was going on in each other’s lives.

You may have picked up on the fact that I’ve been referring to all of this in the past tense.  A few weeks ago, Donna passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly.  She was my age…just 50 years old.  In the days that have followed, we’ve seen a flood of posts from family and friends that underscore the blessing she was to so many.  A good number of those comments came from people who, like us, never had the privilege of meeting her in person.

Why am I telling you this?  You didn’t know Donna, so does it even matter?  Well…it can.  As I said, I never – not even once – read anything Donna wrote that wasn’t somehow positive.  Was it because nothing difficult ever happened to her?  Of course not.  Donna was pretty transparent on Facebook, which meant she asked for prayer when she didn’t feel well, when she had car trouble that affected her job as an Uber driver, or was just having a rough day.  Those posts, however, always expressed her faith and belief that everything was under God’s control.  She prayed over every issue we made known to her.

That’s where you and the title of this article come in.  Goes for me, too.  What legacy are you building?  Notice I didn’t ask, “Are you building a legacy?”…that’s because you definitely are building one.  Donna was a light to those she encountered, whether in person or through social media.  She set an example for me, to be sure.  I would like to be remembered in the same way others are remembering Donna.  It’s not just so people will stand around at my funeral and say what a great guy I was.  Donna was winsome in a way that made others want to know what she had that produced her outlook.  Donna wouldn’t have hesitated to tell them about her Savior.  Another friend posted a screen shot of a text conversation about a problem the friend was having.  Donna’s response was, “God is in charge, and has your best interest at heart, always!”

We miss Donna and hope her life will now continue to have a godly influence on others that she never met.  If you’re reading this, that means you.  Shine the light of Jesus on everyone you encounter like Donna did.  Make your legacy one of lifting others up and honoring the Lord.



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