When I returned from southern Utah last month I began reading Terry Tempest Williams’ book Red. Williams lives in southern Utah and has a great love for this area of the country. Towards the end of the book she offers this moving reflection:
“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.”
These words help me to see Creation in a new light. They call for me to remember that as stewards of Creation we must seek to preserve God’s gifts for future generations. Too many of us live only for the present, giving little thought to what things will be like for the generations that will follow us.
In my lifetime I have been blessed to see so many beautiful and wonderful things. I cannot assume that all I have witnessed will be there for others to enjoy 50 years, 100 years, 200 years from now. I know better.
I have observed animal species that are threatened or endangered. Will they still be around 100 years from now? I have stood in wonder and awe before many natural treasures. Will those who follow me have a chance to be moved by these same sights?
The “hand of man” has always had an impact on the natural world but that impact is far greater today than ever before. It is imperative that we practice the “wild mercy” Williams writes about. It is crucial that we extend grace not just to one another but to all of God’s Creation. For that reason I ask you to join with me in praying that God will help us to “see beyond our own time” so that we can be good stewards in the here and now.
(The image above was taken at Capitol Reef National Park, a park Williams mentions often in her book.)