Some of the greatest cathedrals in the world were constructed over multiple generations. The workers who toiled to bring these great buildings to life knew that the architect's designs for them were so ambitious, they were unlikely to live to see the finished structure.
The York Minster, for example, began construction around the year 1230 and was completed in 1472. Today, when you walk into the nave of the cathedral, you can't help but feel inspired by it's transcendent, vaulted ceilings and stunning array of stained glass windows.
In a culture addicted to immediate gratification, it can be hard to imagine working on a project that even your grandkids may not see finished. But many of the more intangible projects humanity currently faces, like reversing climate change and eliminating systemic social inequity, may very well take more than a generation to complete.
We benefit every day from the work that those who came before us did to ensure that others would someday benefit. Their work is a gift, and we can honor them by continuing to pay it forward for future generations.