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Embracing Our Unique Life Story

Embracing Our Unique Life Story

February 1, 2021

The following was written by David Campaigne, a Senior Private Wealth Advisor in Ronald Blue Trust’s Baltimore, Maryland office.

Last summer, the hit Broadway musical Hamilton debuted on the Disney+ app and as our family viewed it for the first time, it captivated each of us in so many ways. In one of the last songs (“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”), Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States portrayed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, shares these powerful words just before he dies in his famous duel with Aaron Burr:

“Legacy, what is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me. America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me. You let me make a difference. A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up.”

A few weeks after our family watched this musical while words like these still resonated in my soul, I had an unique opportunity to share key aspects of my life through a guided interview. Some of the questions asked were quite thought-provoking and helped me share openly and deeply about my own life story. Some of the questions were:

  • Growing up, how did your family define success? Are you a success?
  • What do you consider to be your top professional and personal achievements?
  • What has been your greatest failure or regret, and what did you learn from it?
  • How do you want to be remembered, and what would you want written about you in your epitaph?
  • If you had one bit of advice you could pass on to your children and future generations of your family, what would that be?
  • What is a day or event you’d like to live over again because it was so happy or meaningful to you? Where were you, what were you doing, who were you with, and what made it meaningful?
  • If you had three wishes for the world, what would they be?

I recently grieved the passing of both of my parents–my Dad in July 2019 at the age of 77 and my Mom in September 2011 at the age of 70. Over the last few years as my wife and I enter the half-time season of our lives and continue raising our children (ages 10 and 12), I have reflected on the story I was born into and the legacy my parents gave me.

We are each born into a story and when we embrace all of that story, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, it can free and liberate us. As professor and author Dr. Brene Brown says, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”1 Unfortunately, not everyone is born into a blessed or loving family. Although the circumstances we are born into are part of our story, they do not have to be our entire story. It is important to own and acknowledge where we come from, but also to know that we continue to write our stories as we grow up and begin to make our own choices.

I am forever grateful to my parents for setting my feet on the path of Christian faith (Philippians 1:5-6). My parents’ health declined much sooner than I ever anticipated, which made me even more cognizant of how fragile life is and reminded me to live each day to the fullest for God’s glory. The Scripture passages below have deeply resonated with me since my parents passed away.

  • Psalm 90:10a, 12 (NIV) – “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty years, if our strength endures…Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
  • Ephesians 5:15-17, 18b, 20 (NIV) – “Be very careful then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of very opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…Instead, be filled with the Spirit…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As we start the new year, consider taking some time to reflect on your unique life story and perhaps even capture some thoughts or experiences on video for future generations of your family to view.

At Ronald Blue Trust, it is our privilege to walk with clients in each of their own unique life stories and journeys as we help them make wise financial decisions, live generously, and leave a lasting legacy. If you would like to connect with a Ronald Blue Trust advisor, please call 800.987.2987 or e-mail [email protected].

1 https://brenebrown.com/about/
Scripture quotations taken from the NIV(R) Copyright by Biblica, Inc.(TM)

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