It started on Saturday when I went to a baby shower for my niece. Although this is her second child, it is the first boy for my sister's family. As we all sat around in a circle while she opened her gifts, I couldn't help stepping back and looking at the picture as a whole. I was reminded of a photo that sits on a shelf in my den. It shows my Mom, then my sister and I, all four of our daughters, and my daughter's first child - four generations. On Saturday I had that same feeling: our whole lives were lived so that we could see this moment in time. This is what it's all about.
On Sunday at church our speaker addressed the idea that everything we do is connected to everything and everyone else. She used some Native American drums and music to connect us all to each other and to the earth, and I was reminded of the Native teaching that says before you make a decision or take action realize that whatever you chose will affect the next seven generations.
On Monday, Memorial Day, we were all reminded, with parades, memorial services and events, that how you live your life affects us all in some way. Later that day I was listening to a song by former American Idol winner Scotty McCreeery called The Dash. It tells the story of a small town that gathers together to welcome home one of their own fallen soldiers for the last time. The phrase, the dash, refers to the dash on a tombstone that goes between the date of his birth and the date of his death. The singer tells us that what matters is how we live our lives in the dash between those two dates regardless of much or how little time that space represents.
Taking all three of these messages together has given me a greater awareness of the importance of making each day count. What I do today is my legacy for the children that come after me. How I treat the earth and all living things on it will be felt by all of the generations that follow. Choosing to fill the space between those two dates on the headstone with a life lived in integrity, love and responsibility is all that matters however long that time may be.
This morning I had the honor of explaining a tomato plant to my youngest grandson, age 4. I explained that the yellow flowers had to come first in order for the tomato to come next. I asked him if he understood what I was trying to tell him and he replied, "yes, Grandma. The flower helps the tomato to grow." I certainly hope so.
And so it is.