“You’re filling up a time capsule to bury in the backyard that will be dug up in 500 years. Write the letter you’d put inside to describe life as you know it today.”
Name: Cameron Andrew Stevens
State and Country of Origin: California, United States of America
Religion: Born Again Christian
Age: 36 (1976 – Present)
If you are reading this, it is the year 2513 and you’ve just discovered and unlocked a time capsule from 2013. I can only imagine the questions you have as to life from 500 years ago! Even as I write this, I’m trying to imagine what life looks like for you. In my lifetime, things moved fast. Technology progressed at an extremely fast rate. If I were writing this in the year of my birth (1976), I would not have been able to type it on the laptop computer I’m currently using. You may be saying to yourself, “What’s a laptop computer?!” Your technology may be so progressive by the time you read this, that laptop computers don’t exist anymore. You may be utilizing some form of technology that is foreign and unknown to me, as I’m using tools that someone from 1513 could not have fathomed. I can not even begin to imagine what life for you is like. I’m currently wondering if there is a United States of America anymore. So, in writing this letter to you about life in 2013, I had to reflect on what life was like 500 years before my time. So in some respect, this is going to be a 1,000 year retrospect for you. To give myself perspective, I needed to go back to the year 1513.
Life in the 16th century was very different. First of all, my country did not exist; well at least politically. In fact, the entire Western Hemisphere was just being explored by those from Europe. Christopher Columbus would first lay claim to North America for the country of Spain in 1492. In so doing, the flood gates of discovery were opened up. Names such as Balboa, Cartier, Magellan, Cortes, Pizarro, Da Gama, De Leon, and De Soto would explore and discover what is currently North America and the United States of America. So within the last 500 years, entire countries were created, people groups and new societies established, and unfortunately, some destroyed. Advancements in politics, economics, religion and philosophy, art, science, and culture would eventually shape the modern day landscape in which I now inhabit. Let me put it simply. 500 years ago, the writing pencil was first invented. And now, I type this on a portable laptop computer and could simply publish it for the world to see in the click of a button. 500 years ago, men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would change the accessibility and freedom of religion for the rest of the world. They would advance the cause and affect of Protestant Christianity on the development of the Western Hemisphere and the United States of America. 500 years ago, Galileo and Copernicus would cause us to look differently at science and how it shapes the world around us (back then, some believed the world to be flat). 500 years ago, William Shakespeare would change the way people enjoy writing and the theatre. 500 years ago, there were no cars, computers, electricity, or other means of energy resources that had been developed by and for the progress of human civilization.
So what does all this mean for you, who is reading this in 2513? It means that I could write and describe for you what life is like in 2013, but it could very well make absolutely no sense to you. There is no amount of information that I can give you that would help you understand life in 2013 that you couldn’t read in your history books (do you still have books? In my lifetime, I’m seeing the evolution of electronic books that may cause the demise of printed material. Apologies to Mr. Gutenberg). What is scary for me to think about is that the city, state, and country I live in no longer exists. I fear that human interaction and society has deteriorated. Some would claim in 2013 that the world was going to “hell in a hand basket.” Who knows, maybe that happened. Are you living in post-apocalyptic times? Did the world unleash their payload of nuclear weapons in a cataclysmic world war event that destroyed most of humanity and it’s way of life? I write that in jest, but also with some sort of real intrigue. The other thing I wonder is if our futuristic movies had any sort of truth to them. Are you flying around in space machines? Has humanity inhabited other planets? There was a lot of scientific exploration of the planet Mars in my time, even though our government stopped funding our space program. As you can see, I have more questions about your life than you probably have about mine.
So I leave you with this letter. Not as a means to identify life in 2013, but rather a retrospective look in to the future. The best way for me to tell you about my life in 2013, was to take a look back at how much life and society has changed in the 500 years prior to my life. Life between 1513 and 2013 changed so dramatically, it is beyond my ability to think what life is going to be like in 2513 (if there is life at all). As a born again Christian, I’m writing this believing full well that I am living in the last days. Will Jesus Christ return before I die? I don’t know. In fact, no one knows. So in some way, I hope that this time capsule is never found and this letter is never read, because that means Jesus has returned and the Earth and humanity no longer exist. Those that had committed their lives to Christ are living in eternal glory in Heaven. And those that did not, have been condemned to eternal separation in Hell. However, if you are reading this in the year 2513, and the Lord has not yet returned, I pray despite the persecution of the Christian church, that you have chosen to live your life for the Lord. Because there is only one thing that I can assure you of that has not changed from 2013, or 1513, or since the beginning of time. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Despite the winds of change in time, culture, society, politics, economics, world religion, or technology, Jesus Christ has been, and always will be the same. He is a loving Savior who gave His life for you. He had you on His mind as he hung on the cross 2500 years ago (from your perspective). In 2013, I have lived my life and will continue to do so no matter what may come, all according to God’s Word, His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, by the guiding of the Holy Spirit. As the Bible proclaims loud and clear, “Choose this day [whether it’s 1513, 2013, or 2513] whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
May the Lord bless you in 2513!
* This post was written as part of a blogging challenge based upon the book ‘642 Things To Write About’ by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.