Lisa and I read that music legend Glen Campbell passed away yesterday, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81 years old. So many of our musical tastes are different, but Lisa and I both always shared an enjoyment of Glen’s music. Not unlike Johnny Cash and John Denver, there was something distinctly different about Glen’s sound- his voice, his guitar playing, and especially his songs, all far surpassed any label of mere country, pop, or even crossover. Glen occupied a category unto himself.
I discovered that Glen touched many lives across the musical spectrum as well, most interestingly, hard rock icon Alice Cooper. Cooper mused, “Glen was one of the greatest guitarists I ever knew, and one of the best friends I’ve ever had.” Though on opposite ends of musical styles, they both endured tumultuous years of substance abuse, came out the other side sober, and both found faith in Jesus Christ later in life. Not to mention a shared love for golf.
One of Glen’s last recordings was a cover of the song, “Adios”, which was also the title track from his final studio compilation. The song is hauntingly beautiful, and I’ve found myself playing it over and over the past two days. I’ve since returned to many of his old classics, replaying them throughout the day as well. He leaves a musical legacy that will last for generations.
As I think about legacy, I remember what my friend Greg Sweatt asked recently in a sermon he preached- “What stories do you want told of your life, after you are gone?” So many people who knew Glen Campbell have amazing stories to tell of him, despite his personal battles with addiction and illness over the years. Those of us who grew up with his music can tell stories of how certain songs touched us at various times in our own lives.
So I contemplate, “What legacy have I been building over my 54 years so far, and what stories will family, friends, and others tell of me when my days here are done?” I don’t want any “caveats” in my life story- moral failures, broken relationships, neglected duties, missed opportunities. I want to leave a life story behind that echoes the apostle Paul’s in 2 Timothy 4:7-8-
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…”
No caveats, no sidebars.
Love God, love others, live well.
What stories will be told of you?