When I was a freshman in college, there were small vases of flowers on every one of the hundreds of tables in our Dining Commons. One particular guys’ floor enjoyed finding couples on a lunch date and casually placing dozens of the vases, one by one, on the table between them before walking away, whistling cheerfully.
Besides that little prank, I didn’t see much purpose behind the flowers. When I asked why they were changed out every week, the upperclassmen told me a Taylor University alumni couple had left a fund in their will that specified a certain amount of money to be used exclusively for flowers in the dining hall.
Not financial aid. Not a building fund. Not artwork or landscaping or some other campus feature with a gold plaque bearing their names and a message to be remembered by.
Nineteen-year-old Amy was not impressed. While I thought the flowers were pretty, being a thrifty (read: cheap) person, I rolled my eyes at the waste of money. If we only had flowers on special occasions, like Christmas or graduation, we’d appreciate them more, I reasoned, and it would save a lot of money that could go toward more important things. And if it had to be flowers, why not plant a garden? These flowers just kept on dying, kept on needing to be replaced.
They didn’t last. Not the individual flowers and not the money in the fund, which ran out during my sophomore year. What good is a legacy that doesn’t last? I wondered. (more…)