Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why We Do This Work

This past Saturday I attended the birthday party of my dear friend Ellie, who just turned two. That’s right, two years old – she’s a big girl now and we had a party to celebrate! Lots of friends and family attended, and there were tons of kids running around in the sunshine that deigned to make an appearance during this otherwise dreary spring.

There was home-made macaroni and cheese, cake and ice cream, and more love to go around than any toddler knew what to do with. Ellie was surrounded by people who care about her and want the very best for her future. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, all enveloping her in a protective and loving network that will support her for years to come. It reminded me of another party I went to last month, for my three-year-old goddaughter, Hannah.

At Hannah’s birthday party, it was also all about the food (pizza and ice cream…I’m going to have to go on a diet), and also all about the love – for Hannah, her baby sister, and all the kids who came to wind themselves up on sugar until they collapsed in a sticky heap. There’s just something about the wide-eyed innocence of a small child to break your heart open and want to shield him or her from all the problems of the world.

Unfortunately, many of the problems of the world today are due to our making. Climate change, destruction of habitat, food shortages, and other environmental ills can be laid directly at our generation’s doorstep. It’s time to ask ourselves the hard questions. What kind of Earth will we leave for Ellie and Hannah’s generation? I have four nieces – Vanessa, Stephanie, Danielle (who also just had a birthday!) and Camila – what environmental legacy will they inherit? My godson Angus will be 15 in June…what will the world be like for him when he’s my age?

When I look into their faces I know in my heart why I do this work. Why I strive to help Christians and other spiritual people make the connection between faith and our call to protect the Earth for future generations. Why it matters so very much what we do today, tomorrow and next week. Because the choices we make now will affect these kids’ future, and the future of children around the world.

In the next few days, make or renew your pledge to leave the world a better place for those coming after you. Hug a child you love. And remember why we do this work.

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