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Just dropping by ... Walking in a golden world of fall

Yevet Tenney Published on 20 November 2013

As I walk through the golden world of fall, I can’t help but marvel at the glory of God. Everything is formed with such intricate precision. Each tree and plant has the God-given power to regenerate in springtime.

The blossoms will come and eventually the fruit; then the leaves will scatter the ground. The seasons are ever-turning patterns of perfection. I think of my own life and the ebb and flow of the good times and the bad times.



Like the seasons, I have a God-given pattern that is uniquely mine, yet it is the same as every other human on the face of the earth.

Every human is born, grows to childhood, adolescence and adulthood, old age and finally death, yet my life is totally different from any other human being. My experiences shape my destiny, but I fit into God’s grand plan for the universe.

I wonder if the Pilgrims who stepped off the Mayflower dreamed that their choices would shape the destiny of so many people.

I wonder, when they walked through the falling leaves and heard the crunch under their feet, if they ever thought about the path they were marking for future generations or how their lives would intertwine and weave through generation after generation.

I am not sure about which ancestor came across on the Mayflower, but I know my Grandfather Tanner, five generations back. He was a man of faith and commitment.


I know him because stories were told about him. He was a wealthy man who gave everything he had to follow Christ. He was healed by the power of faith and lived to bless thousands.

I don’t suppose he ever thought about the future generations as he planted fields of food for the pioneers to harvest as he made his way to the West.

For 16 years, he performed that service. I don’t suppose he thought too much about it when he ran his sleeve across his sweat-dripping brow or sat down beside his campfire at night. He was just living day to day.

His son, Seth Tanner, settled in Arizona. He was a good friend to the Native Americans. They called him Hustine Shush, which means Old Man Bear. He was a giant of a man who could wrap his arms around a pine tree limb and wrap his legs around the belly of his little white mule and lift him off the ground.

He was kind to the Native Americans, and the Native Americans were kind to him. He followed in his father’s footsteps and planted fields to bless his family and those around him.

I don’t know if he ever thought about the future generations and the many grandchildren who would be born in his lineage, but he left a legacy of love, faith and commitment.


Seth’s daughter, Elizabeth, was a gardener too. She taught my mother how to make straight rows and plant seeds with precision. She passed on her legacy of charity to my mother.

No one ever came to Elizabeth Tanner Despain’s house without taking some produce away. She was a woman of great strength and commitment. She ran a trap line and was a midwife for many women who had babies back in those days.

She was an expert markswoman and could scare the daylights out of an intruder with an empty gun. I am not sure she ever thought about what path she was marking, but she did walk a path of uprightness and goodness.

My grandfather, Claude Despain, was a cowboy who blessed many lives. He spent many years providing for his wife and 10 children by being a cattleman and a farmer. He planted rows and rows of corn and beans.

He cleared fields and carried water. He was not a big man, but he made up for it in commitment and desire. He too probably didn’t spend much time thinking about the legacy he would leave, but he made a difference in the world because he made a difference right where he was.

My mother is a genealogist and a historian. I don’t think she ever thinks of herself in those terms, but she is the one who painstakingly gathered stories and told them to her children.

In the oral tradition, she has passed those stories on to future generations. She, like her parents and grandparents, has carried on the traditions of service, gardening and generosity.

She doesn’t spend much time thinking about herself. It is always a matter of “What can I do for you?” Her 80-plus years have been well spent.

Now the baton of legacy is passed to me. I wonder what I am doing that will make a difference generations from now. I don’t do it every day. I don’t take time. My life is a spinning merry-go-round of the sun coming up and going down with a few experiences in between.

I have all the conveniences to have a perfect and easy life. I have my tablet, computer, car, cell phone, vacuum cleaner, washer, dryer and on and on. I am like the little mermaid in the Disney movie.

“I have everything – but I want more.” I live in the world of “if only ...” If only I had more time ... if only I could get ahead of the game ... if only my children would do what they are supposed to do ... if only the government would ...

The “if onlys” are tentacles of covetousness that reach out to make us miserable. We are commanded not to covet, but it is not easy. We live in a give-me society. Give me this, and I will be happy. Give me that, and I will be satisfied.

The trouble is there is always something that catches our eye, and we want more. We’ve got to have it or we won’t be happy. We don’t often stop to think about what we have.

I have “gadgets a-plenty.” They clutter the house and are stored in boxes in the basement for that someday when I get more time. Yet I think I need more! What is to be done?

Gratitude is the cure for covetousness. We need to take stock of what we have. We can’t leave a legacy thinking about what we don’t have. We have to look at where we are in God’s plan and move forward.

Have you ever thought that He has blessed us with all the conveniences for a wise purpose? Maybe He wants us to have time to play with our children and to teach them His gospel.

Maybe He wants us to have time to write down and record stories of earlier generations to give our children a bridge to the past and to give them hope for the future.

Maybe He wants us to have time to visit the sick, the widow and the fatherless. Maybe He wants us to spend some time on our knees getting to know Him.

Walking in the swirling leaves of fall, it is time to take inventory of what I have and point a new course toward leaving a legacy. Prayer is the first step. I need to ask. “Father in Heaven, guide me to gratitude.

Help me to see the bounties of the earth and the blessings of prosperity I already enjoy. Help me to turn my eyes outward to the needs of others. Let me think constantly of the path I am walking. Am I walking the path I want my future generations to follow?

Teach me my mission. Help me to have eyes to see your plan and feet to move in that direction. Help me to look back to the heroes and heroines of my parentage and pick up the tools they left behind. May I work with passion and compassion to fulfill my eternal destiny.

Dear God, help me to leave a legacy that will mean something to someone who will follow after me. Help me to pour out my soul in praise and gratitude for everything I have.

Help me to realize that toys will never bring me true happiness; only finding the hero in myself will make my life complete. Amen.”

This Thanksgiving time, may we all take inventory of our lives and decide to leave a legacy as those heroes have done before us. PD