In his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting. But since that time, his fame has reached epic proportions. Today, he is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art. People visit museums throughout the world specifically to see his work. He is a world-renowned master known for his artistic genius. Could he have foreseen his legacy? Could he have known the impact he would have on the world?
Often, we think the blood, sweat and especially, tears, that we offer to our family, friends and community are all in vain. We toil without seeing the fruits of our labors. The kids still complain. Their mother won't agree to the extra day of custody. The teacher won’t speak with us because we aren’t the “parent”. But just as Vincent Van Gogh went about his tasks (often in great depression and despair) so should we. Our labor is not in vain. We WILL leave a legacy. Perhaps we will never be world-renowned. Maybe we will not be studied for our great techniques or brilliance. However, we will have planted a seed. The love that we convey today will continue to live tomorrow. The peace that we promote today will prosper in time. The legacy that we leave behind will be its own reward.
In his time, Van Gogh’s works were not showered with praise or substantiated by his peers. He was not viewed as a master, or even heralded as “the next big thing.” Chances are we share that with him. However, for us, the importance is to “keep on keeping on.” We may not see the rewards of our faithfulness and endurance lit up on a grand marquee or on the front cover of TIME magazine. But we have created a legacy…an enduring legacy that will continue to grow long after we are gone. So what is your legacy? Maybe you aren’t the next Van Gogh. Maybe you are. Or just maybe you are raising him.