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Fishers of Men – A Life Legacy

By: Attorney Katherine S. Breckenridge, Esq.

Published May 9, 2014

Estate Planning

“I will make you fishers of men.” Powerful words shared with us from Matthew 4:19; they especially resonate with me, today.

In April, I participated in my second triathlon; this time it was in beautiful Lynchburg. I hold that city near and dear to my heart, as it is where I spent three intense years attending law school.

This triathlon was called the Angels Race, and upon entering the water during the first phase of the race, we were asked in whose memory we were racing. I raced in memory of my two grandmothers. Two beautiful women, who left solid legacies for the generations, which followed them. June and Bee were the names written on my right arm, and I began the swim with tears in my eyes.

I made it through the swim and found myself racing along the fifteen-mile bike phase of the triathlon, which was charted along the James River, and wound all the way into Amherst County, and then back into the City of Lynchburg. There were hills that were challenging (some feeling like 45 degree angles to me), but on that beautiful spring day, where I was celebrating both life and legacy, I was in constant conversation. I enjoyed the race beyond measure; in fact, I smiled the entire way. I rode those hills on the wings of angels, as I celebrated my grandmothers’ legacies. The conversations will remain as one of those, “Saving Private Ryan” moments. What I will share is that I was that older woman, going fast on a bike, chatting away, while onlookers cheered.

I knew I looked a little crazy, but what came to mind is one of my favorite quotes, “I’m older and I have more insurance,” from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, as I have reached that age that it is not about pleasing the onlookers, but about a concept so much more eternal.

Seriously, I wish that I could have asked the onlookers about their legacies, as well as the ones they are leaving. I wanted to share with them how much better our world is because of my June and my Bee, brilliant women – full of strength, moral character, and hearts for God. What measurements of success! What inspirations!

I want to follow in their footsteps. I want to leave a legacy for my children, both in a life well lived, as well as an estate well planned. Recently, as I was training for this race, my favorite spinning instructor stated, “Let’s exchange the words of the song Devil’s Jump for the sound of Angels’ Drums.” Perfect, both in the Lynchburg race and in life. It was the sound of the Angels’ Drums that carried me through the hills, and to the peacefulness along the James River on the return.

It was at the point along the James River, where the dam is, when I realized that there were no bikes in front and none behind, that there was a convergence of a perfect place – a moment when the world was at peace, incredible weather, a breeze from the river, a bucket list moment, and utter joy, and, yes, I admit to breaking out in song! (Remember, I am older and I have more insurance!) I was traveling fast on my bike and was in full celebration. It was then that I realized there was a fishing boat full of men at the base of the waterfall. I am sure that for months to come, they will be commenting on the older lady, who was riding fast on her bike, while grinning ear-to-ear and singing,

In my line of work, as an estate-planning attorney, written legacies are paramount to effective planning. And, I encourage all adults to consider making sure they have their documents, such a will and perhaps a trust, a power of attorney, and an advance medical directive prepared.

However, in the hustle and bustle of life, and the efficient attention to document preparation, consider that the true meaning of a legacy is not measured in the accumulation of financial wealth. Perhaps instead, it is the memories of grandmothers who shared their faith, examples of kindness, and a direction of a well-traveled path. A perfect example of a meaningful legacy occurred the following morning. When I shared with the spinning class about my surprise at having sung to the fishermen during the bike phase, my dear friend, Cindy, summed up perfectly what I want my legacy to be. In the Spirit of Matthew 4:19, “she is a fisher of men!” I pray that is my legacy.