Legacy is a Four Letter Word

Two hands making the shape of a heart

...an interview with Gary and Jorie Gulbranson

It was late summer of 1973 when my wife, Judy, and I met Gary and Jorie Gulbranson.  They were newlyweds.  We had been married for over six years.  Gary and I were beginning grad school in Denver, and both of we couples wondered if we would find fast friends as we began this next chapter of our lives.

Who will become our friends?

Suffice it to say that what began on the first evening we met at a social gathering at the school has grown into one of the best of friendships that any couple, or individuals, could hope to have.  The unexpected storms we have weathered together (even when living miles apart…), and the unexpected joys and delights we have shared in over the past 42 years has created a bond that only our Triune God could have forged between us.

We celebrated the birth of their first daughter, and were thoroughly humbled when they asked us to be that little girl’s godparents.  Not too many months later they celebrated the birth and adoption of our daughter.  And then a few years after that we celebrated the birth of their second daughter.

Who can be trusted with the upsides and downsides of life?

We have easily shared in the joys and sorrows of life as individuals, couples, families.  Always there has been a listening ear and an open heart between us that only adds to the treasure of a friendship that began in the Second3rd of our lives.

Gary and Jorie have been an integral part of LDG since it’s inception, having also served on our Board of Directors, and now as Directors Emeritus.  They have both served on numerous ministry and non-profit boards.  In addition to getting his seminary degree and his PhD in Educational Psychology, Gary has pastored two churches, one in Illinois, and continues as the lead pastor at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington (http://www.westminster.org/).  Jorie has been involved in a variety of women’s ministries and both are valued speakers at conferences in the US and other parts of the globe.

Who will really be there when the going gets tough?

When I think of those who are committed to leaving a legacy with their very lives, these two easily come to mind.  I know the hours they have walked with the hurting and relationally wounded of those in their congregations, and elsewhere.  I know the hours they have poured into people to see them mentored, growing and released in their own life pursuits.  We know how instantly they said, “Come, please…” when their first daughter died of unknown causes 104 days after Gary and I performed her wedding back in the early 90s.  I know how instantly available they were when Judy was fighting for her life due to a medical miscue in early 2000.

Who is committed to being there in your life

for the long haul…and why?

Over the years we have talked about these questions with these friends, and other friends both new and close.  Friendship can too often be easy come/easy go.  And, of course, not all friendships can have the same depth as a few do.

One four letter word cements friendships, at depth.  That four letter word begins friendships, even unexpectedly.  One four letter word plants relational seeds for the future.  One four letter word nourishes and waters those seeds.  One four letter words takes the active participation of both sides of a friendship.  One four letter words brings into the open what needs to change, what needs to grow, what will bring creative life to future friendship.

The best of mentoring, and the best of “legacy leaving” in any 3rd of life, in any intentional friendship, is predicated on this four letter word.  How it is given.  How it is received.  How it is renewed with each fresh interaction.  That legacy word?


As our friends, Gary and Jorie, so ably daily demonstrate, the best of mentoring involves loving people for who they are, for who they can become, not just for what they accomplish.  That takes loving people right where they are, and helping them explore and discover where they need to be.

Who can you identify who loves you for who you are?

Who do you truly love for who they are?

What is the legacy of love

you are leading with and leaving from your own life?

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Written by

Founder/CCO/Master Mentor Leadership Design Group. Wes is uniquely designed to encourage, grow, prod, and challenge others. He is wildly creative and able to imagine better futures for others and himself. Since 1967 his leadership mentoring has helped shape the future of individuals and organizations to grow their dreams into reality. Wes exercises his unique personality to serve others as Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media. Wes has been mentoring individuals and teams since 1967 from a variety of backgrounds and on every major continent. The unique mentoring model that has deepened, enriched, challenged and changed many lives—in every third of life, is a cornerstone for all that takes place within Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media.

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