A Legacy of Love

It has been over five years since I wrote about my beach glass collection. Actually it was the topic of one of my first entries for Red Tent Living. I posted an impressive picture of that collection that is repeated here for your enjoyment.

My beach glass is no longer clustered together as in the photo but is displayed in vases on my mantle over my fireplace.  The vases stand resolute on each side of a family photo.  Recently a friend of mine was gazing at my mantle and asked, “Mary Jane, what are you going to do with all that beach glass?” I hesitated slightly and laughed playfully before I took a risk to tell her.

You see that beach glass represents hours of beach time with my family as we walked the shores of Lake Michigan. I taught our grandchildren how to spot it as soon as they were old enough to walk the beach. Each piece represents bending over, examination and a discussion of what could be the origin of the glass. Each of us proudly scrambled to find the biggest, the prettiest or the most unusual piece on any given day. Red ones were the most scarce and sought after because they were so hard to find. But what a celebration we shared when one of us zeroed in on a red piece on the beach.

As I glanced at my mantle and then to my friend I answered her question. “Well, I’ve actually thought that maybe I would like my family to scatter the beach glass back into Lake Michigan along with my ashes. The two could mingle together for something I loved and for someone they love.” Her reaction was beautiful as she said, “You will be leaving a legacy of love for the future generations to enjoy. It is more than the beach glass. The life you have poured into your family through play, celebration, conversation and time are more than the pieces of glass in those jars. Just think all that beach glass represents the blessing you have poured into your family for next generation.”

I’ll have to admit that I really had not given my collection or my impact of blessing that much thought. A legacy for future generation? But her words resonated in my heart as I began to wonder about my legacy. What is it that I will be leaving behind that is the essence of who I am?

At this point in my life two things come to mind: loving kindness and blessing.

I’ve discovered that which I am becoming is the very thing I must give away.

Recently at the Brave On Conference I talked about how kindness is so important to me and how my heart is to bless the next generation of women rising up in the world we live in today, including my own granddaughters. Their world is different from mine yet so vital for the life they are fighting for.

Currently my world is my family that will continue to grow as grandchildren marry and great grandchildren are born. I’m not done yet. I’m still creating life and memories that include a football game this weekend with my family. I am adding more beach glass to the vases. How fitting that those vases of beach glass shelter my family on the mantle!  Just imagine the stories each can tell and the wonder of the beach glass we all collected together. Yes, future generations will know the beauty of my life and my beach glass.

My passion for today is for the kindness of my heart to resonate in the heart’s of those I love. 

I do believe kindness can be a blessing especially for those, like myself, who have yearned for it all their life. The beach glass? Oh, that…it is really secondary to the goodness and adventure of my life lived on the Lake with my family.  Will others have a chance to enjoy the beach glass as well? Only time will tell. For now it will remain on my mantle to admire and to reminisce over the fun and frivolity of collecting beach glass off the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. And I’m still resolute to grow a legacy of love for my family and the future generation to come.


Mary Jane HamiltonMary Jane Hamilton loves her life living on Lake Michigan with her husband of 48+ years. It is her family that brings her the greatest joy especially her 6 grandchildren. MJ readily admits that she adores her dachshunds and rests in the comfort they provide. She smiles at life and “rolls with the punches”. MJ loves Jesus and beauty, MJ loves wind, waves and thunder, MJ loves fashion and good wine, MJ loves…&n