Having recently lost all of our digital data from the past 20 years, I have been thinking now and then on the legacy we leave when our days on earth have expired. As unsettling as it was to lose so many memories (photos, videos, writings, and the like), I mentioned that there was also a strange freedom in it. You’ve probably experienced a similar thing when it comes to lightening your load. Whether it be shredding papers that have gathered on the corner table, taking that closet of clothes to the donation center, or any number of such things, you are able to breathe just a bit more freely afterwards.
In these past 20 years, I have maybe accessed those archived files only a handful of times. And, in doing so, there was usually only a very small number of files I revisited. I don’t know that I’ve looked at our wedding photos in the past five years we’ve been married. I’d certainly not re-read papers I’d written in college or accessed websites I’d developed at millennium’s end. (Okay, maybe I did view those once or twice just for fun.) And, as much as I might like to imagine my kids digging into a small block of digital information left behind by their parents in order to preserve some sort of legacy of our life, I must admit it’d probably never happen.
When we look back on generations past, it may be that we pull out a photo album and peruse a small collection of photos. It may be that we ascend to the attic and open an old trunk that houses the belongings of those who’ve passed on. It may even be that we sit around a table with a shoebox full of letters and re-live moments of their living. I see our children doing the same. With a handful of heirlooms or images and a headful of memories, we will be remembered. I would not wish upon my children a digital pile of holed away things I once thought important. Granted, we may someday have an optimized system for storing and accessing archives and it could even be as if they were speaking with me again. I just don’t see the value.
I recently stumbled upon a timeline of the far future. Intriguing.
I also happened upon the KEO project, an interesting endeavor authored by Jean-Marc Philippe to communicate with the inhabitants of earth 50,000 years hence. Up until the end of 2014, we can each submit a message that will be preserved in a space time capsule set to fall upon earth some day in the long distant future.
I realize that we have a desire to live on (even here on earth). I know the longing to feel as if we’ve made some small mark in history. And yet, it is not of us to know the times and the season our God has planned. It is of us to live faithfully this day … here … now. It is of us to claim the calling, to live His love, and to hope for a world made new with life eternal.