Thinking more about this Robert Louis Stevenson quote I ran across yesterday in my mother’s papers,
“… who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; …”
I don’t think that Stevenson wrote of history’s judgement on us – history seems to celebrate the despots as well as the saints. Rather, I think that he was writing more personally, speaking to our inner sense of ‘better’ as measured not only by ourselves, but by those around us.
‘Better’ may very well mean our willingness to try to look at what we’ve done through another’s eyes and see what they see. Not the skeptic, of course, nor the naysayer – but through the eyes of a child, a friend, a spouse, or even a stranger.
If the sum total of what we’ve left behind today can be honestly appreciated by both them and us, then perhaps we did leave the world a little better tonight than we found it this morning.
Today’s gift of time … Picked up some trash in the ditch near our house. Although I can’t be sure, I believe that a stranger passing through our neighborhood might say it looks better.