Thoroughly Used Up

While walking along the Boise River Greenbelt, I came upon this dead bird. After burying it beside the riverbank, I continued on my journey and thought about Shirley Hershey Showalter’s post, where she shared this quote:

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.” —George Bernard Shaw

This quote describes what I believe and what want for my own life.

What do you want to hand to future generations? Click To Tweet

What do you want to hand to future generations?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

60 thoughts on “Thoroughly Used Up

  1. I certainly agree that what we do needs to work for everyone.
    I also agree that we need to keep active.

    And it seems entirely possible to me that we can go on living indefinitely if we each act responsibly, respect diversity, respect the environment, respect the deep lessons from the past, and stay open to infinite creativity.

    I want to give future generations my hand in friendship, personally (as distinct from leaving them anything).

    Individual life;
    Individual liberty;
    Responsible action in social and ecological contexts.

  2. My thought every morning dear Laurie. As i showered this morning, the words that kept playing in my head was “Leave your footprints in the sand, Whitney”.
    Its never easy deciding to be different, people would sit down and look at you like crazy, but if you’ve got goals and dreams of being remembered for good, then you would care less about people’s opinion over your selfless sacrifices and lifestyle.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. George Bernard Shaw says it so well. What I want to pass on to future generations is a sense of adventure, the ability to step out of one’s comfort zone and follow your dreams. I hope my books about a travelling young person, in some small way, will instill that idea.

  4. I agree. No man is an island and we all need to have a purpose, which is best served by working within a community. Good on you for burying that beautiful starling. We have done that in the past too. 👍

  5. Beautiful post Laurie and resonates deeply with me this morning. It is my intention to hand future generations hope, inspiration and the belief that we all can make a difference with our actions, however small, to create a collective impact. PEACE by committing to the 5 peace actions suggested by World Citizen and establishing international Peace Sites worldwide, one at a time. http://www.peacesites.org

  6. Lovely post.

    Laurie, I still cannot like your posts. I’ve messaged WordPress twice and received no response. Your blog is one of about half the posts I’m following which does not show I’m following and on which I cannot like posts. It prompts me to follow, but will not permit me to follow even though I am still receiving notices of your new postings.

  7. How very caring to bury the dead bird. Shaw’s quote and Shirley’s post are both quite thought provoking. I want to hand love to future generations in what I say, do, think and teach. Thanks for this post.

  8. If humorist Erma Bombeck got her wish for her tombstone, her epitaph reads, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, ‘I used everything you gave me,’” certainly a variation on the Shaw quote. Before age 69, she wrote thousands of newspaper columns and published 15 books.

    My legacy to my grandchildren? Living life with gratitude, which I try to show by example. And very soon, they’ll have my memoir in hand, so they’ll know more of their family history. Thank you, Laurie, for burying that bird and writing this post. 🙂

  9. That’s a wonderful philosophy. I think of how much I appreciate kindness from others, so that’s what I’d like to pass on to future generations. Don’t you tend to remember the person who smiles, extends a helping hand, opens a heavy door for you? I want to be be that person and encourage others to pass it forward.

  10. Laurie, imagine my surprise today when I saw one of my favorite quotes and a link to a 1.5-year-old post of mine in your weekly reflection. Not many people would remember someone else’s words so long. Not many people would bury a dead bird. But you would.

    What I want to hand to future generations is a healthy planet and a healthy American democracy. I can’t do it. Certainly not by myself. But I am committed to doing what I can to alter what Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer called the three feet around me.

    So glad my metaphorical three feet connects me to you!

    • Shirley — I love your blog, so it’s not likely I’ll forget much of what you post.

      And like you, my goal is to positively alter my sphere of influence (the three feet around me) 🙂

  11. I will leave my efforts for social justices: for women’s, racial, and other disenfranchised people’s equity, for opening a better quality of life with healthy food, shelter, and “roses” for the poor; for environmental health and wild spaces and wildlife for future generations; for a healthy democracy in our country again and for peace in our lives, our country and the world. I have been active in all the above and some time in my life and on most still today.

  12. I am glad I came here quite late and could read so much of wisdom and good thoughts of fellow bloggers. I agree with each thought. I want to pass on the will to inspire, hope, kindness and one good gesture everyday. I try to convey it through my poetry too.
    Thank you for a sharing a meaningful quote Laurie.

  13. What a beautiful bird. Alive in death and in life, considering how she inspired you to write this thoughtful post.
    Your words here, and the quote you use, touche me deeply because I have six grandchildren; when each one was born, I felt a need, a desire, a wish and a prayer to leave with them the light within me. A light of joy for life and the ability to live through hurt and pain well enough to still feel joy. I pray that these six, as well as all children, contain a spark of Light from the Source/Spirit that guides them to a fruitful, loving, and well-loved life. Well. There.

  14. Hmmm… that’s something of a poser, Laurie. I am filled to the gills with all the platitudes that have been uttered down through the ages, and they seem just fine to me. However I have seen some lapses in the education of our young people that tend to give me a moment’s doubt. I would want to pass on the same qualities and virtues I learned while growing up and growing older, working hard, doing your level best and treating others as you would like to be treated.

    • Sandi — If we would all role model the three items you listed, I think our future generations would have a stable foundation: (1) work hard, (2) do your level best), and (3) treat others as you want to be treated.

      That’s a pretty darned good formula.

  15. Working hard, do one’s best, and serve life is part of my meditation each day. I was raised to be a servant of our best life and community. Good quote. Thank you for sharing

  16. I’ve just read , in another of my favourite Ozzie blogs , that Margaret Fulton had passed away . I’d never heard of her but apparently she was Australia’s National treasure , she was a cookery writer from the 1970’s .
    Nicole of ‘cauldrons and cupcakes ‘ confesses to still use her cookery books today after her grandmother introduced her to her culinary expertise.
    I think it’s a wonderful thing to pass the joy of cookery on to the next generation. I like to think I have with my son because he adores cooking and does all of the cooking in his house . We all have eat and leaning to cook is an essential joy .
    Loved the quote by the way .
    Cherryx

    • Cherry — Ohhhh, I just love the idea of passing cookery down from generation to generation! And I love that your son is the cook in his home! My husband (Len), is the cook in our home 🙂

  17. Laurie, thank you for burying the bird. I want to hand a kindness to animals and other critters (guess that means humans) to the next generations.

  18. We had a late nesting season this year, maybe because of the rains. I picked up five dead baby birds that had dropped from their nests over a period of three months. None of them had feathers yet. Nobody else in our building probably even saw them…. I didn’t want them to end up baked into the concrete… I picked each one up and said a few words before laying them gently in my trash bin… maybe not very elegant but at least they were remembered!

  19. I am playing catch-up with messages, and just got to this one. I love the line, “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground,” from the song “Carry On” by Fun. I want to leave the next generation perseverance!

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