There are approximately 360,000 babies born per day and 15,000 births per hour worldwide. That is more than twice the number of people who die each day – meaning 180,000 people die each day, approximately. That’s statistics!
But to each family, a birth or a death is an event to remember. And when the one who is born accomplishes some remarkable feat, the world remembers him/her for years together.
History engraves the likes of Einstein, Edison, Newton, Marx, Graham Bell, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther, Maradona, Pele in its glorious pages. We also have the likes of Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro, Hitler, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and such others enshrined in the annals of history.
Think of the doorkeeper at your office – would you remember him several years after you quit your job? Umm . . . may be or may be not . . . not unless there is something significant about him or you’ve had some interesting conversation or a really nasty altercation with him! Isn’t it?
To etch ourselves in the memories of others, we need to be significant or do something of significance. Or at least, that’s how the common perception goes.
As I fast forward a few years of my life and then look backwards, to observe whether or not the footprints that I have made along the shores of my earthly life have withstood the tests of time, what do I see?
A portion of the Bible comes to my mind, which deals with this very issue. It is an allegory of a building that has been built on a strong foundation.To paraphrase it in my words –
Each one should build with care. If anyone builds on the foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is. Fire tests the quality of each person’s work. After the work goes through fire if what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss . . . but may himself survive the flames.
Do I want my works to be razed to the ground and relegate into oblivion? Or do I want my works to withstand the tempests of time and gaze loftily heavenwards?
What do I want to leave behind?
This life of mine has been soaked by the immense love of my Saviour, to whom I owe my every breath. His grace abounds in my life. Having no goodness in me whatsoever, I bask in His love and grace each day each moment.
In this life, I attempt to showcase this love and grace towards my fellowmen to the little extent doable by me. In a world largely bereft of love, I strive to awaken the love chords in human hearts. In times of vastly degrading values, I seek to make each precious one aware of the rich values that they are endowed with. Where each one competes to win the race shoving the others aside, I attempt to pick the fallen ones up and enthuse into them the zest to rise up and run again. To put my arm around those who long for an embrace and to give a reason to smile to those whose faces are streaked with dried tears – that is what I strive to do each passing day.
These are easier said that done. At times, I think to myself – why do people have difficulty in understanding love? Why do people have difficulty in accepting grace? These virtues of love and grace don’t cost anything in tangible terms . . . in fact, the world is hungry for love. Somehow, there is an unseen barrier that prevents people from exhibiting these qualities of the head and heart and also from responding to them.
Whether or not I am remembered for these, I may not be there to see. How far I can do justice to these deeds of mine, I do not know. I may not reach the heights of the great ‘who’s whos’ of the world and get my name etched in golden letters or be eligible for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. But, the impact it would cast on a few precious lives will far outweigh the remembrances and accolades.
William Wordsworth pens his famous lines in the poem ‘Lines written a Few miles above Tintern Abbey’ –
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.
Such little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love are what I would strive to cast on the sands of time in the course of journey along life’s shores.