Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What Will It Matter 100 Years From Now?

Donald Whitney's book Simplify Your Spiritual Life is composed of 90 2-page "chapters." I have been reading one or 2 of those a day in addition to a chapter in another book. One of the chapters I read last week really caught my attention. Here's how it started:
Do you know the first names of any of your great-grandparents? Unless one of your hobbies is genealogy, the answer is probably no. And yet they lived lives as full as ours. They went to school, married, and had children. Most of them worked at their various occupations for decades and played with infants who grew up to become your parents. In all likelihood, your great-grandparents were very much alive less than one hundred years ago. But after all their labors and all the seasons they saw come and go, what awareness is there now that they ever drew a breath? If you, the direct descendant of these eight people, do not even know their names, then it's almost certain that no one else knows them or anything else about them either. They may have lived for eighty years, and not a trace of their lives remains. That's your life in less than one hundred years from today.

What a sobering thought! Don goes on to use this motivation as one of many reasons to keep a journal. It can be an electronic journal (like a blog!), hand-written, or even audio- or video-recorded. You don't have to write in it every day and you don't have to write a long dissertation every time you sit down. Just keep a simple journal to leave some trace of your life. A few years ago, I started selecting a Scripture passage every year to meditate on. I started a journal at the same time that I write in once a year that tells what passage I selected and why I selected it. Right now, it doesn't have much in it, but I look forward to reading it in future years and reminding myself of what God was doing in my life each year.

I have also heard people use this as a motivation for scrapbooking. There are a lot of details we keep in our heads and sometimes those get lost as the years go by. Scrapbooking is a beautiful way to keep those memories alive for future generations. To me, scrapbooking is just a more colorful form of journaling. This was really the reason I first started scrapbooking. However, I found traditional scrapbooking overwhelming: all the stickers, papers, embellishments, etc. It's just too much for me! I don't have a special room in my house for crafting so I would always have to drag it all out and then clean it up after doing just one or 2 pages. Then I discovered digital scrapbooking and that has made all the difference! I still have many albums "in progress" or that I intend to do but haven't started yet, but at least I can make some slow progress on them without the additional time of dragging boxes of things out of the closet. For me, the digital method works better. For others, that may not be the case.

Don sums it up this way:
The simplest way is best. It's the one you're most likely to maintain over a lifetime to build a monument to God's faithfulness. And long after you've made your last entry, it's also the one most likely to introduce your great-grandchildren to your life and faith and to influence them for Christ's sake.


Half A Dozen BOOTH's said...

These are great thoughts! I did have the privilage of knowing some of my great-grandparents, but I certainly do not know much about them and the lives they lived. Thanks for motivating me to do more with my scrapbooking!

Half A Dozen BOOTH's said...

privilege I mean!

Anonymous said...


I only met 3 of my gr-grandparents in my life, all of them women. One of them lived until I was 18 years old and all of them left quite an impression upon me.

My gr-Grandmother Killian impressed upon me by her physical state, that I too someday would get old. (I think I was 3 or 4 maybe when I met her.)

My gr-Grandmother Garrett impressed upon me the fact that when I was older, I'd have no choice of where I lived so I'd better hope my kids love me. =))) (Oh, and that it was totally ok for a lady to snore!) =))

My gr-Grandmother Turner impressed upon me the belief that there is indeed unconditional love, although, I'm sure there were times she could have pulled my ears off my head.

All of them were southern ladies, all of them were Baptists and knew the Lord, and all of them possessed individual graces that I can never hope to attain.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for your comments, Ruthie! The only one I recall meeting was Granny Garrett and then only when she was in a nursing home. I do remember the snoring, now that you mention it. Tee hee! :)

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