Time Capsules: Our Responsibility to Future Generations


When I was younger, there was nothing like traipsing off into the "uncharted territory" of an abandoned building or deep into the woods where few people have gone before me and discovering  "treasures" from the past... who am I kidding. I still love to explore! My first year of college offered its fair share of adventures. New places, new legends, and new pieces of history to discover! One such adventure occurred one weekend when the campus nearly emptied of students indicating a lonely and boring weekend ahead. Following one of the rules of survival for living in Pineville, Louisiana, this left myself and a few friends to "create our own fun". (Insert parental facepalm here) Don't worry, no one was hurt. We decided to explore our dormitory as it was raining and as aspiring Resident Assistants, we needed to be familiar with every inch of the place so that we can help our residents in the best way possible... right?

We discovered the door to the attic of our dorm was unlocked and... what else were we supposed to do! We grabbed some flashlights and proceeded to go spelunking. The attic was dusty and dark. You know... like an attic. Scoping out the dark recesses, we stumbled upon old piles of pamphlets and phone books, rat poison, a couple of broken chairs and some bricks stacked up against a wall. Nothing too exciting. But then, in a corner toward the back of the attic, we found an old trunk tipped over on its edge.

Old letters left behind by Sean.
Old letters left behind by Sean.

Filthy clothes, stained photos and brittle letters littered the floor space surrounding it. We tip toed around, picking up various pictures and letters, imagining the circumstances in which these memories were made. Upon further investigation we discovered that the trunk and its contents had belonged to a young boy named Sean who had gone to school here years ago.

Without any notice, he had vanished, leaving behind a room full of his personal things which were eventually boxed up and stored away. These piles of letters were a portal into another time. A time that we would never get to experience firsthand but were able to relive through this trunk. This time capsule. We met his best friend and his parents. We jumped off a diving board at his summer camp. We shared in his pain over a messy breakup.

I have never personally stored anything away in a time capsule. I want to. I think it would be surreal to leave some part of me behind to be discovered by someone who I don't even know after I have died. That part of me, whether it be a letter, a video, or some possession of mine, will exist in a time that I will never exist in, touch a life that I will never know, and maybe even go to places I will never go. I can influence history beyond my allotted 72 years of life.

Time capsules are powerful tools. What we fill them with will have either a positive or negative effect on someone... somewhere... sometime other than today. It can bring up old rivalries, answer unanswered questions, crack codes, solve mysteries, entertain the curious, inspire, inform and preserve. As weird as it may sound,  I believe that children are time capsules, carrying forward through time what we fill them with: values, beliefs, opinions, perspectives, experiences, emotions, knowledge and wisdom. To a large extent, the choices are ours. We are blessed with an exciting and daunting responsibility of guiding these children while they are young enough to be molded. Sadly, this responsibility is often either ignored, passed off to someone else or simply taken lightly.

In a powerful and insightful metaphor, after which the book was titled, the Psalmist spoke of children as arrows in the hand of a warrior.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! -Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)

Arrows, fired into the future, hitting targets that are out of reach by the archer. Are you beginning to see what a huge opportunity we have? "Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" Blessed is the man with many children. The more arrows a man can let loose into the future, the more targets we can hit for the Kingdom. Our children carry forward our ministry to affect a future time in a future place, filled with future lives that we will never get the chance to touch.

Jacob Jolibois