A landmark piece of literature that transcends all trends of the liberal arts is The Brothers Karamazov, by Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Penned in pre-Bolshevik, Czarist Russia, this masterpiece encompasses every struggle and triumph of the human race. It is a virtual panorama of the best and worst of the inner and outward nature that expresses and exposes who we are upon this fragile earth, and what motivates us.
One of the brothers, Ivan, asks the tough questions, the kind that keep the philosophical among us up late at night while the world slides into slumber ranging from blissful to restless. He challenges God, struggling in the familiar chasm between faith and disbelief. He comes to a conclusion at some point that without the immortality of the soul, every depraved act is permissible—only the implications of eternity could possibly motivate a human being to do the right thing, he asserts.
Whether Ivan was on target or not, some analogies spring to mind about his declaration that only the possession of a long term view helps a person to make choices today that involve love, charity, giving, sharing, and not causing harm. Launching from this springboard, I would postulate that having a long-term view of what a community could become greatly helps a person to make daily choices that become building blocks for a multi-generational quality of life.
I believe the cultural arts community that we are developing today will be strongly ingrained in the Brevard County lifestyle experienced by today’s children when they are tomorrow’s young adults. I have a strong hunch that the efforts we make in the coming years to form strategic partnerships between local governments, non-profits and faith-based organizations to address human needs will greatly help paint the canvas of our socio-economic infrastructure in the years that follow.
The nutritional and wellness awareness that we inculcate into our citizenry during the next few years will help a rising generation to make better, informed choices that could have a dramatic impact on health care costs and worker productivity down the road. And it is very plausible that how we strive today to preserve our natural heritage, while not impeding a sensible flow of growth and development, will have a huge impact on what Brevard looks and feels like—and its general sense of balance—a generation from now.
It is easy to be overwhelmed by our own schedules and responsibilities, and fail to have the energy or even the vision to help nurture the bigger picture of how our community is being shaped. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t regularly express that they are “so busy.” Is it a badge of honor?
We must ensure that a sizable chunk of our routine is not simply activity but is productivity that carries with it a sense of a quality tomorrow. A life—even a good life—run without a sense of larger purpose ultimately leads one to the proverbial perch of disillusionment and a sense of “is that all?” History, literature, film, theater and our own lives are ongoing testimonies to this ticking time bomb of disappointment, which awaits any individual who fails to find his or her own niche of legacy in this journey.
A call to action
If you are not involved in some organization or movement that is seeking to ensure a certain quality of life for some particular aspect of Brevard County, please endeavor to do so—even if only for your own sense of peace about making a difference. Read the articles that flow across this month’s edition of GreenBrevard, and you’ll see many different options of involvement. The people who contribute to our April issue are out there making it happen. Come alongside of them and jump into the game.
This article calls to mind a song… lyrics follow:
Legacy, by Nichole Nordeman
I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
of all the who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such ‘n such…it wouldn’t matter much.
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an “Atta boy” or “Atta girl”
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
the temporary trappings of this world
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon destroy
Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, “Well done” good and faithful one
Nichole Nordeman, Copyright ©2003 Sparrow Label Group. EMI Christian Music Group.