For thirty years I have been looking for a particular historic home in Fallbrook. It was designed by a noted architect, Rudolph Schindler, for the Carlton Park family as a getaway from their busy social and professional life in Los Angeles. I don’t know much about the Parks, but I do know about Rudolph Schindler.
On Saturday I may have found the house. What I know of Schindler was written all over it. Built almost ninety years ago now, he was true to character. (When I visited his archives in Santa Barbara I saw his disdain for other tradesmen as he used their invoices for scratch paper.) Schindler was brilliant but cheap.
As I walked around the structure I had found, concrete was peeling off what had been placed inside it. Instead of proper rebar he had borrowed old steel fittings, likely from a piece of retired farm equipment. In 1923, when he built the 12-unit vacation homes in La Jolla known as Pueblo Ribera, to make up his concrete he used sand from the beach (including salt and sea shells) instead of clean aggregate. In the last 93 years this has caused the rebar to rust and therefore expand which has wreaked havoc on the structure. After nine decades, the buildings are falling apart.
So it is with the influence you and I have on others. After four generations, what will be apparent in the lives of our children and grandchildren? Will some evidence of our past appear in still existing things that we have written, constructed or designed? President Obama is looking hard to name his “legacy” just now. But, legacy is a day-to-day effort in the present, and one cannot go back and create it. From what we did will come our estate, not from what we believed.
Don’t get me wrong; our beliefs are very important, but the actions we take because of them will have far more lasting impact than the thoughts that created them. You and I will not have biographies written about us. There will be no publicists and no six-figure speaking engagements for you and me. Our works must stand on their own.
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)