We Are Merely Borrowers

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Sunday 15 September, 2013 by Uncle Spike

“We must remember that nothing in this world really belongs to us. At best, we are merely borrowers”

My wife is pretty busy this time of year, preparing new courses for a new semester in the faculty, as well as more than enough going on across her two departments. As a result, I have time on my hands today; the kid appears fixated with Ben 10 this morning, and it’s still a bit too hot to start charging off out there to tackle some farm chores, 

So… I was having a browse around and came across these words from the late British novelist Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood – and they struck me as quite profound, and that was it, I drifted into one of my Sunday Philosophical Moments.

“…nothing in this world really belongs to us…”

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How true is that when you really think about it? Just take a moment to list out all the things that ‘belong’ to us. The car, the house, your clothes, the land your house sits on perhaps. Now there’s a funny concept for a start, just how can we ‘own’ a piece of land, a section of the earth, a slice of this planet?

“…At best, we are merely borrowers…”

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Borrowers or caretakers. Our stay on this planet is all very temporary, for no matter what our beliefs, all of us will be gone after a certain number of decades. While we are here, we do our utmost to ‘make our mark’, to ‘put our stamp’ on our very existence if you will.

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This is more than a philosophical dream, but very much a reality for some of us. Here I am, working a fruit farm. I arrived a few years ago, and have worked my butt off, day in, day out, no tractor, just my bare hands, some simple tools, a pair of sturdy workboots and my old shorts. Over the years the land has been completely changed, from an overgrown jungle to what passably looks like an organised affair; and we’ve even built a house. But in the end, for what purpose? I will either move on, or die here. That’s not a morbid thought particularly, it’s got to be one of those, hasn’t it?

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After I’ve gone, what will happen to the land. In another 100 years, will anyone care or even realise how much work, thought and sweat has been literally poured into what we do here? No, of course not. As the man says, “we are merely borrowers”.

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8 thoughts on “We Are Merely Borrowers

  1. I guess that every one of our actions shapes the future in some way or another — the butterfly effect, and all that. Whether we’re written into history books, who knows? Best to just enjoy achieving what we can achieve, rather than gut-rotting about who might care about our achievements one way or another when we’re dead and gone.

    Darn it, I was achieving very little this afternoon as it’s a Bank Holiday in the UK today, but now you’ve made me think.

    It sounds, Spike, as if you’ve achieved a great deal with your farm. You are obviously a very determined person. Oh, and you’ve achieved a great deal with your blog, too, in a short space of time.

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  2. wendy says:

    …and you’re only ever rich when you possess the things in life that no money can buy…

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  3. Shana Rae says:

    Some years ago I went to take some photos at the local cemetery, wandering around I got lost deep in thought remembering all those who’d walked this path before and were now nothing but memories, and at some point in the future after I am long gone, others will walk along the path and I wondered if they too would think about those who’d been there before. It is very hard to explain such a profound thought, just how transient life really is, we are here but for a brief moment on a universal scale, yet people put such importance into owning material possessions, the biggest, the most expensive, that is hard for me to understand.

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    • Uncle Spike says:

      Never used to bother me… maybe I’m getting old I guess 🙂
      On the same line, ‘old folk’; somehow they are no longer boring, smelly and wrinkled to me, but wise, experienced and learned guys who have nearly all ‘been there, done that’ – just in a different age!

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      • Shana Rae says:

        I’ve always got on better with ‘old folk’, rather than ‘young ‘uns’, as a teenager I did voluntary service on the geriatric ward at the local hospital, being there for all the old people who’d been abandoned by their families, gives you a whole new outlook on life. I do wonder what the ‘old folks’ of the future will be like and what stories and experiences they’ll have to share…”oh I remember the days when I could send 200 texts a day…”, and facebook will have to change to wrinklybook!!

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