Friday, August 17, 2012


Sometimes the idea of leaving this earth without leaving anything “permanent” behind makes me feel a little panicky. By leaving something “permanent” behind, I mean having created something of significance that would last after I am gone—that would last past this generation. Sometimes it is frightening to think that after having lived my life, having done whatever I’ve done, that time would slowly erase me from history—that when I die, I won’t be on earth in the physical sense, and then eventually, all traces of my existence would disintegrate over time: businesses I’ve worked for may close down and anything significant I did there thus rendered irrelevant, my life fading from being a real person that people knew to a vague memory that my grandchildren pass on to their kids to the cloudy image of an ancestor.

Even if I try to create something with staying power—something that will allow me to make my mark on history—or on a smaller scale, a legacy to leave my descendants: a family business that my kids could continue, music that could exist beyond my life, or even actions, thoughts, theories or ideas—even those kinds of things can’t last forever. Things I created, like songs (Zusters), poetry, blog posts, etc. and things I taught my kids may or may not be passed down or repeated down the generations—and “may or may not” is certainly no guarantee.

How do you carve your initials in time?

I’m not sure why I feel this way. I guess I just want to know that my life had a point. If after 50 years or 100 years, it will be as though we never existed, then what are the best ways we should be spending our time? What should we focus more on doing? What should we focus less on?

My thoughts then turned to the Bible, where it says to not store up treasures on earth, where they get destroyed and stolen but to set treasures up for ourselves in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed or stolen (because you will find your heart in company with your treasures). The Bible also compares our lives to a breath of vapour, or a mist that is there one moment but gone the next. Okay, even the holy Word of God acknowledges how our “treasures” on earth are temporary and how short life is on earth!

I want my life to count for something, but I also don’t want to waste my life trying to make it count with things that won’t matter eventually. I guess I want to know that something significant came from my existence, but it is challenging to figure out what to do, without putting too much of a penchant on things that will eventually not exist.  

Once the sun sets on your life, what do you want to have had accomplished?

I guess I just wonder about how in whatever we do, whether it be our passions (which we sometimes lack the time or resources to do) or our responsibilities (which often take up so much of our time) or a mixture of both, we can make it count both in the natural and the spiritual sense.

Maybe up until now, I have limited my thinking to ways that I can keep myself “alive” on earth when I’m not here anymore, but instead, I should be thinking of ways I can invest in the life I will be living when I’m not here anymore—in spiritual terms. Surely, the plans God has for us here on earth have meaning, and they must in some way ultimately lead to impacting our lives or the lives of others even after they are no longer alive on earth. Surely, the talents and opportunities that God has given us on earth should be used—not buried—but invested in ways that can yield a return that is relevant in heaven.

Surely, we can use our lives on earth to create a legacy that can be carried even to heaven. Surely, all that we have to do and get to do, what we want to do and need to do, can be metered and can blend into what makes us us, and that alone has significance...and when we recognize the spiritual part of our existence, can’t we use the present to prepare ourselves for our spiritual future? Is that the kind of legacy we should be working toward?

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