Ruth Duccini died in January at the age of 95, the last surviving female munchkin from the Wizard of Oz leaving only Jerry Maren left of the original 124 little people from the film. All her life she was associated with the classic and made numerous appearances at festivals celebrating the movie. Given her stature, at 4 feet, 4 inches, and the fact that she lived in Santa Monica, she likely had someone remind her of her starry past each day. But if you asked her what she was most proud of and what she wanted to be remembered for, she would give one answer. She would say that it was her role as “Rosie the Riveter.” She worked on airplanes at a defense plant during World War II. She helped her nation through this patriotic work. Whenever her name is mentioned by the press or her picture is seen in a book or on a website, it will likely be associated with her brief work in that cinematic effort. But she preferred to be known for her service (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/01/16/wizard-of-oz-munchin-dies/4542745/).
I find that more than patriotic. It is both admirable and exemplary. Rather than longing to be “seen” and “out front,” Ruth wanted to be behind the scenes working hard. Her preference was a few years of difference-making work rather than decades of recognition.
This is a reminder that none of us can choose how we will be remembered. We know that our decisions and actions collect together like raindrops to form the pool of our legacy. Looking down, we can see a reflection of who we really are. But others look at our lives and form their own impressions. Usually, whatever we desire to be most known for is exactly what we become most known for. Yet for what do we want to be most known? Our looks? Our wit? Our wealth? Our talents? Our notoriety? Or, do we desire to be known for our godliness, service, encouraging, courageous, loving, faithful, persevering, or similar spiritual quality?
Whether or not we log 95 years on this earth, we are leaving daily impressions. May we leave the kind that help people go to heaven and that keep us on the path that leads there, too. Make yours a legacy of love for the Lord!