I spent the last four days cleaning out a downstairs room in my mother’s house that was crammed with a lifetime’s worth of my dad’s stuff. He died four years ago and had been a pack-rat extraordinaire. A big percentage of what I sifted through was family history, which I will organize in the very near future.
As I turned the pages of an old photo album, long-gone relatives, youthful and smiling, stared back at me. Many of the photos were from the 1800s and it struck me how their lives back then were just as vibrant and alive as our lives are today. Yet their sepia-toned world doesn’t quite seem real; it’s hard to imagine a time when people dressed and looked like that. Unfortunately, I can’t truly connect to that world because the vast majority of photos are not labeled and we have no idea who these people are. The years flew by and now these “sepia people” who I owe my very existence to have faded away into the mists of the past, almost as if they had never been.
My mother is seventy-seven. My sister, single and childless, is fifty-three, a year older than me. My daughter Erin, my only child, will be thirty in a few weeks; she’s getting married in a month and plans on having children. So there’s hope that there will be generations to come who we can pass the family archives to. But right now, it’s just the four of us, plus Kate, Erin’s mom, another dedicated keeper of the flame of our family’s history. All these precious family artifacts—photos, birth certificates, marriage documents, graduation announcements, countless letters—are tremendously important to us but meaningless to anyone else.
It’s an eerie feeling, but some day a yet-unborn descendent may look at my photos, shrug, and toss them in the trash along with the letters I wrote, the letters that reveal my character, my heart, my dreams. And the world won’t even blink, it will just keep on moving. And that’s okay. Because the part of me that’s really important will live on in my daughter, my daughter’s children, and my daughter’s children’s children. And the good that I put out into the world will live on in the people whose lives I touched in a meaningful way; any positive changes I inspired them to make will live on in their descendants as well.
Just as the life that pulses in our bodies goes back to the beginnings of the Earth, so too does that same heartbeat carry the pulse of those that come after. By the power of our imagination, we can sense the future generations breathing with the rhythm of our own breath or feel them hovering like a cloud of witnesses. . . . Sometimes I fancy that if I were able to turn my head suddenly, I would glimpse them over my shoulder.
And that’s the point. It’s not about me. It’s about being a force for good in the world and helping each generation be a little more positive, a little more loving, a little more peaceful then the one that came before it. These last few days have been humbling and liberating. They have also heightened my sense of urgency—the hourglass has only so much sand and there is work yet to be done.
Travelers, it is late. Life’s sun is going to set. During these brief days that you have strength, be quick and spare no effort of your wings.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.