In February of 2018 I will be able to say that I have lived for nearly three-quarters of a century. I’ve lived through the turbulent 60’s, the Viet Nam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and so many other culture-changing moments of history. I remember the moments and the trauma experienced with the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. I’ve lived in all the unsettled stages between those events. I’ve also lived in the new world that came to be after 9/11. The mass shootings, the terrorist attacks, both in the US and around the world, the 17-year war in Afghanistan—all this, too, has been part of my “three-score and ten-plus” journey.
Looking back at all of this “lived” history can be discouraging. I’m not naive about what has happened in the world. I know the fires (racism, nationalism, tribalism) of yesterday are still smoldering. I see new fires being set aflame today that will be destructive to the very fabric of our society, and especially destructive to the fulfillment of humanity. This is reality and I must be a realist. But I must never allow my realism to turn into cynicism. I must always be able to balance my realism with my faith (idealism and hope) that there is a divine seed within every person, regardless of age, sex, race, cultural background, or educational achievement. There is a “Love at the heart of all things.”
Grumpy old men (or women, for that matter) are not what the world needs right now. I doubt that the world has ever needed grumpy old men or women. What the world needs right now, and what my neighbor needs right now, and my brothers and sisters all around the globe need right now, and even what I need right now, is a lift, an encouraging word, a new hope in this very difficult world. What is that encouraging word? What is the “lift” needed? “Encourage one another and build one another up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
|Monument Valley, Utah|