Friday, January 1, 2010


PopPop, age 95, prepared Thanksgiving dinner for several of his ten children. "Let's say grace," he said. "Thank you for giving me another day to cook dinner for my family." Later, one of his great-grandchildren said, "I wonder what it's like to wake up every morning and be grateful to be alive one more day."

I used to go to bed knowing I would wake up the next morning. I didn't doubt it. Now I'm not as sure, although I'm very hopeful. I have aged into the uncertainty of infinity. Some of us are becoming more and more hopeful that infinity will know us, everlasting. At the same time we are growing to value the finiteness of the present.

If we're going to use religion to guide our behavior and we believe in the sanctity of human life, I don't know how we can ignore most of the people who will ever exist -- our descendants. Our great-grandchildren need our help. It's not a matter of believing or not believing that humans are contributing to the end of the Earth as we know it. All we need to know is simple arithmetic. If we're running out of food, we don't wait until our cupboards are bare. We plan ahead. The earth contains a finite amount of coal and petroleum. If we continue to use them the way we're using them now, they will run out.

Most young people view life as endless, even though they "know" it is not. We know this because yesterday we were young. They deserve our help and our planning, now. They are worth our investment.

"I sang into an overlook this afternoon," says Virginia. "No one but I heard me, except maybe some wildlife. Sometimes I wonder if I hear myself."

Happy New Year!

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