Yesterday, we spent the afternoon with my grandmother who is visiting my uncle. My uncle has been doing a lot of genealogy work, so we had fun perusing old photos and our family tree. I learned I have a great-great-great uncle who was a bank robber.
Of course, my family tree is mainly filled with law-abiding folks doing the best they can, in often difficult circumstances. In some cases, all we have left are names, dates, and maybe a few official records. We have no stories or memories to tell us who they were. We don’t even have names and dates for most of the people further back in my family tree.
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Of course, I will leave more of a record for my descendants, as will most people alive today. Not only that, it’s mostly of my own making. We document everything. Can you imagine 23rd-century historians pouring over Facebook? What on earth will they think? Bless our hearts. Of course, the fact that so many of us are leaving so many records probably means that most of us will be buried in a sea of information.
One of my interests is history, so I spend a lot of mental time in the past. My vocation, however, is anchored in the future: guiding my children as they grow and prepare to take on the world. Even more, I live for eternity — when all the history books have crumbled and all earthly kingdoms have turned to dust, what will remain? What will remains of Uncle Miles or Constantine or Ghengis Khan in eternity?
In our more philosophical moments, we may ask, “How will I be remembered?” But isn’t the more pertinent question, “Who will I be forever?” We live in a moment in time now, in the stream of history. But what will we be when history itself fades away? As a wise man has said, “Right now counts forever.”