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touchA Woman's Touch
by Deb Phillips

What will be your legacy?
It was after 9 p.m. I was in the fifth grade and the extra credit math problem still wasn't solved, and tears of frustration were flowing. I didn't need the extra credit ­ it would just add to my already over 100 percent grade ­ but my perfectionist tendencies won out. Later that night, I finally solved the problem and received the extra credit the next day. Looking back, it seems silly ­ who remembers their grade point average from fifth grade?

A few years later, as a member of Job's Daughters, I helped to deliver small gifts we made to residents at the Masonic Homes (now Masonic Village), and I spent over half an hour with one resident. She had no family or friends nearby and rarely received visitors. She was thrilled to have someone take time from their day and spend it with her. The gift, though appreciated, was not as important to her as the opportunity to share her stories with a new friend. I returned to visit several times after that, sometimes assisting her by writing letters for her, or reading cards she received to her, but mostly just spending time sharing stories and listening. I learned an important lesson that day. How often in our lives do we get lost in the details? Solving that math problem was not for anything more than my own achievement, and who, besides me, remembers it; however, the memory of a pleasant conversation and friendship lingered long after that day.

touchAs adults maybe it's not solving a math problem, but having a spotless home or perfectly manicured lawn or just having the right "things." But when we are gone, are those the only memories we want to leave behind? What is our legacy, or more importantly, what do we want our legacy to be? Will it be the perfect lawn or the museum-quality home, or will it be our kindness, graciousness and generosity to others?

It's never too late to re-evaluate our lives, and make changes to benefit others, and ourselves in the process ­ be it spending more time with family, serving as a tutor to struggling students, making regular donations to a charity, doing yard work for an elderly neighbor or visiting with residents of a nursing care facility. As members of the Masonic family, we have many opportunities to "Share the Light"--volunteer to assist at a CHIP site, share your time and talents at a Masonic Village, assist shut-in members--the opportunities are endless.

What will be your legacy? The fourth Saturday of October each year is designated as "National Make a Difference Day." Coordinate a project to "Make a Difference" in 2005 ­ include your family, Masonic family, friends, co-workers ­ and begin a legacy of service to others on October 22, 2005.

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