Photo Credit: Keith MacMurdie
You see them frequently dotting the fields in Montana: uninhabited wooden huts rotting away in the sun and snow.
You could call them ruins, whitened by the elements, with strips of wood clinging to the remnants of what used to be huts. The cow herders used to sleep there when they came out to check on the cows.
The huts are empty, but you can still see cows grazing in the wide rolling hills of Big Sky Country. There is something melancholy about the ruins and they whisper about bygone days.
Standing under what used to be a roof, looking at the sky through the cracks and touching the worn beams that used to hold walls, I imagine a cow herder, maybe with his friend, hunkering down for the night. Today, it would do little to shelter from the cold.
I always feel a little sad when I witness the remains of things from the past: ancient civilizations, old buildings, bad relationships, and memories. I found myself confronting these feelings as I looked at the huts, standing as forlorn evidence of the physical world’s transience. I had to acknowledge that nothing in this physical world is meant to last. Plants grow and die. Even the tallest buildings in New York might stand for a hundred – maybe two hundred years – but in the end, they will not win against the elements. Eventually, my physical body will pass.
But, as I faced the impermanence of the huts, I also opened to the things that are infinite: God, His Love, and our eternal life.
The juxtaposition of the finite physical world and God’s enduring Love made me realize how precious each day is. I am given 24 hours of my physical life to invest in something. With every thought, word and action I make in the physical world, I am laying the bricks of my eternal self. Are those bricks building a self that benefits the world, that reflects God’s Goodness, Truth and Love? Or are they building an eyesore and downer for others?
It was a small but important mindset change. Living with a consciousness of the eternal, spirit world makes my physical life even more significant. When I eat, sleep, work, build – relationships, businesses, buildings, people – I should check whether I have God and the betterment of others in my heart.
Even when my physical self is gone, I want to leave a lasting legacy of newer, better generations, and an eternal life that can express God’s Goodness, Truth and Love.