Leaving a Legacy

Many of us want to leave a mark in our world: for some, it’s creating a successful business or getting inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame; for others it’s raising the kids to respect and love others, or to help people regain their life after addiction, trafficking, or poverty.

Oftentimes a legacy comes to light after death; I know artists who joke about dying early so their music, paintings, or poetry gain fame.  For many of us, we simply can’t know what ripples our lives will create unless someone tells us.  “Your friendship has blessed my life so much,” or “your story has really impacted my life, thank you for sharing,” are rare glimpses of the work God does through His work in our lives.

Unless someone tells us, we often don’t know our impact.  It would be kind of nice to know, don’t you think?

Here’s a video that tells a story of our legacy as plastic consumers.  I’m assuming that you who watch this will agree that it’s wrong (if you have thoughts on this, leave a comment below). Our mark on the world, in this case, is shameful.  I know that shame is a powerful, charged word, but it’s what I feel when I see this.  Did we have any idea the legacy we were leaving?

“Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time, and allow ourselves to feel deeply enough that it transforms us, and our future?”

Reality is checking in, and we have the time, since we are still living, to do something about this plastic legacy we’re leaving.  We are starting to learn about the impacts of plastics in the environment, and study them more closely:

  • Plastic microbeads, such as those in some face washes, are accumulating in the food chain in the Great Lakes and oceans.  That means we could be eating plastic. Read more here (source: NPR).
  • Plastics can break down pretty quickly in the ocean in the presence of sunlight–this is bad, because toxins are released and the bits of plastic are washed up on beaches, or float on the ocean surface and are mistaken for food by albatrosses, or are eaten by fish (and then we eat the fish…) Read more here (source: How Stuff Works).

The subtitle of the video is intriguing: “A love story for our time.”  Perhaps it’s only when we learn to love the world God has made-healthy albatross, healthy food chains, healthy oceans, healthy people eating the bounties of the oceans-that we will find the courage to make counter-cultural change.

Like having the courage to go plastic-free to the point of inconvenience (that’s pretty counter-cultural!), by first reducing, then reusing, and then recycling.

© Chris Jordan. See the lighter and the bottle caps?

God’s offer of unconditional love and total reconciliation with Him motivates me to drastically reduce my use of plastics.  I love Him, and so I want to love what He created.  I want to leave a legacy of honoring and loving God through the way I live my life.

Comment below–what legacy do you want to leave?