Since early this summer, I’ve been enraptured by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton.” It’s an amazing piece of art. The music and story-telling are fantastic. Part of what has stirred in me thinking about Hamilton’s life, is how little I knew about him, and what a broad influence he had on the development of our country. And it has me wondering,
How will we be remembered?
Or maybe better, how do we want to be remembered?
Whether we think about it or not, want to or not, how we live leaves some sort of legacy behind. What is it that we will leave to future generations, to our children and grandchildren? These days, you have to wonder how succeeding generations will look back on our time and culture. There will certainly be plenty of information to sift through as technology saves in that elusive “cloud.” What we leave behind is far more than the things we can handle or touch or see, more than stocks and bonds and property. Our legacies amount to far more than those things.
It has been nearly a century and a half since our congregational fore-bearers came together to help God create the Presbyterian Church of Saint Helena — and in so doing they were creating a place for the community to find the presence of God in a variety of ways. We are the inheritors and caretakers of a ministry that provided a place for the first students to gather for high school while their facilities were still being built; the minister even taught classes that first year. I’ve heard stories of dances after football games held in our fellowship hall and there has been a pre-school on our property for nearly 50 years.
Today, many of the 12 Step groups gather in our facilities in the evening, and during the day, the UpValley Family Center overflows into some of our space as they seek to meet the needs of people in our community. Welcoming people looking for a place to gather, seeking spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health is just part of the legacy we are trying to honor.
So what about in your personal life, and in our communal life as Saint Helenans, Californians, citizens of the United States and the world? I suppose, like Hamilton, much of what we do and leave behind won’t be recognized in the history books, maybe not even in our family stories. But don’t think for a moment that who you are and how you are in the world isn’t significant. Certainly, it’s something to think about.