It used to be that when people talked about what they would leave their descendents, they were were referring to real-estate property, a family business, heirlooms or money. I read a nice article by Scott Russell Sanders this morning entitled “We Bear You in Mind”. He began by directly addressing his descendents as though he were writing a letter to be later discovered in a time-capsule. “You are still curled up in the future, like seeds biding your time. Even though you are not yet born, I think of you often.”
As Sanders writes, he reflects on those elements of his earthly and heavenly environment that bring him joy and awe. His prayer is that those in later generations will be able to experience the same when they finally enter and walk the same ground under the same sky.
But Sanders has a concern: “I worry that the choices all of us make today, in our homes and workplaces, in offices and legislatures, will leave fewer choices for you and your own children and grandchildren, fifty or a hundred years from now. By indulging in our taste for luxuries, we may deprive you of necessities. Our laziness may cause you heavy labor. Our comfort may cause you pain. I worry that the world you find will be diminished from the one we enjoy.”
I appreciate Sanders’ eloquently expressing my own thoughts and feelings. Mahatma Gandhi said “Live simply that others may simply live.” If it is too much for one to get their brain around the idea of “others” as their neighbors downstream or the poor in drought infested areas of the world, perhaps thinking about one’s own children and grandchildren will stir their hearts enough to look seriously at the way they live each day.