People have made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when they plant shade trees under which they know full well they will never sit.-Elton Trueblood
Sometimes I get almost overwhelmed when I think of the fact that I most probably won’t be here fifty years from now. After all, it’s difficult for me to imagine the world without me in it! That’s the only way I’ve known it. But the truth of the matter is that one day I will die, and I’m either going to leave behind something, or not.
Elton’s words make us think of something very important: are we going to spend our lives fulfilling our own needs and desires and leave nothing for posterity, or are we going to look towards the future, and the people who will be on this planet long after we’re gone? We don’t have to leave trees, for not all of us have property on which to do so. But our lives are definitely able to touch those of other people, and it’s possible for us to contribute to the peace and compassion of the coming years by helping others to realize their hopes and dreams and goals and to help their self-esteem through teaching and encouraging.
We can add to the clean air of our world by walking more instead of driving, or just driving less. We can use less water, or we can use less electricity, without worrying about how “minuscule” or unnoticeable our particular contribution is. It’s not important whether we make a huge difference or not, but it is important whether we do something or not.
We can contribute, and the scale doesn’t matter. Our lives are full of the potential to give and to help, and just because one may be planning on living in a town for another year or two doesn’t mean that one can’t plant a rosebush today that will grow to maturity years from now. The beautiful rosebush will give moments of joy to many people, and it’s not important if we know the results, or if we don’t. When we learn this fully, we do begin to discover the meaning of human life.
Questions to ponder:
1. What kinds of things can you do now that might help others in the future?
2. Do our contributions have to be worldwide in scale in order to make a difference?
3. What kinds of things have you given to the world that will last?
For further thought:
Many people do not know that they can strengthen or diminish the life around them. The way we live day to day simply may not reflect back to us our power to influence life or the web of relationships that connects us. Life responds to us anyway. We all have the power to affect others. We may affect those we know and those we do not even know at all. . . . Without our knowing, we may influence the lives of others in very simple ways. –Rachel Naomi Remen