My grandson had an assignment to interview me a couple of months ago. One of the questions involved the future. “Do you worry about the future and if you do, what do you worry about?” I shared with him my fears of the damage we were doing to the environment as we failed to respond to the human impact on our climate. I told him I worried about the kind of world we were leaving his generation.
Our shortsightedness is one of our biggest sins as a nation. We are losing our sense of vision and perspective. We are ignoring to our peril and to the peril of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren our relationship to the earth. By ignoring the reality of a changing climate we are putting future generations at risk, and even our own.
Allen Dromgoole speaks a prophetic word in his poem “The Bridge Builder.” It is a reminder that every generation owes it to the next to improve their world.
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide—
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.” Allen Dromgoole
The Biblical narrative tells us that at the creation, God looked and called all that God had made, good. Then God gave the care of the earth to us, expecting us to both use the earth and preserve it, to recognize that it is only on loan to us. My prayer is that we might be builders of bridges for the generations who follow us. May we invest in preserving this earth that God has trusted us with. May we be wise to build a bridge that our descendants will bless us for.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26