My blog has been in existence for over 7 years. It is not today what it was then. Slowly, it has evolved and my confidence has grown, I’m finding my voice and realize I am never at a lack of something to say.
Yet, I have seen my writing change. Not quickly. Not overnight. But I do see it morphing. Evolving. Maturing. Becoming.
Slowly moves the hands of time, just as slowly we see results of evolution. Equally slow we see the change that happens in us, around us, and when you look over your shoulder, you finally see how we have all changed. Our culture has changed. Politics. Technology. Home life. Careers. Family. Prices! (I remember 6 hamburgers for $1…)
It’s almost as if history alone has the clear view of the valleys, hills, rapid swings, slow climbs/descents, or dizzy plummets to a crashable end.
It’s difficult to see the future. Where are we going? What will the next decade look like? It seems to be an unstable mass of time. You ask questions like, “Will I ever be able to afford retirement, or will expenses rapidly out pace my future fixed income? Will I be able to accept the changes that are coming? What can I do about the future? What will be the next “big thing” on the horizon that will rally everyone around a common goal? Or will we keep fighting about piddly changes?”
A blog comment from last week, along with several other messages and private conversations, gave me pause to consider a snap shot of the past 62 years of my life.
I was born 15 years after WWII ended, and am in the ending legacy of that baby boomer era. I have an uncle who was at Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, but my own parents were still living at home and in school. Then, just 4 years later, WWII is coming to a close and we have lost 407,000 soldiers. Just a blip on the radar of the nearly 70-80 million total war related deaths around the globe, but it affected our nation dramatically. Returning soldiers and a return to manufacturing for regular life, and there was a boom! The remaining 40’s, the 50’s, and then into the 60’s. What a change unfolded in our nation, and around the world!
When we hit those 60’s,
a stride was gained
to ensure we would be different tomorrow
than we we were yesterday.
Imagine the 60’s. We launched for the heavens, circled the earth, and finally reached for, and attained, the moon. Twice! JFK, MLK, RFK – and with these 3 set of familiar initials we automatically know good men were assassinated for a host of reasons. Fear of a jungle war, and the concept of “no more war”, cause many to flee the USA, hiding beyond our borders! Who were the VietNam soldiers? Many who were the first roll call of baby boomers, along with a few older ones who were too young for WWII.
We experienced a change to our culture
that is still tumultuously clamoring
for our attention through current times.
The 60’s changed the landscape. Music, drugs, riots, marches (war, vote, equal rights), sit-in’s, burn the bra and draft card, free love, experimentation… The 60’s erupted into scenes that were as far different from the prior generation as the moonscape is different from our daily landscape. Technology blossomed to the point that we no longer want to return to an earlier time because of our addiction to connection, data, and automation. Our first telephone and television signals were first carried via satellite, thus beginning the conversion from a 24 hour news cycle, to what I like to think of as a 24 second news cycle. The birth of the Internet (not the WWW), not that many of us would have understood it even had we known about it, but it found it’s beginnings during the tumult.
Who are the modern changers today? Those youngsters that were not even born in the 60’s are are standing on the shoulders from my generation and continually modifying our landscape. Daily. Hourly.
Change affected everything. Never again will we live in those fuzzy, warm times of the late 50’s and early 60’s. And somewhere in the midst of this, my foundation was established. Truth!
I’m a child of the 50’s, but I grew through the 60’s, and matured in the 70’s.
I did not know anyone like the Fonze, Elvis, James Dean, Gidget, nor Marilyn Monroe. My world was on the outskirts of major change, protected by the safety of the suburbs, with regular trips to the country (East Texas) to visit extended family. I knew nothing about color television until the mid-70’s, but enjoyed technology via my phonograph and transistor radio. AM only…of course! We played until late at night, outside, on our bikes through the neighborhood, camped out in back yards, enjoyed swimming wherever we could get away with it – and never once came close to living an exiled life because of poor choices.
The teen years were fraught with raging hormones and the usual suspects of negative experiences, but there was a foundation of home, family, and church that kept us fairly level headed. Entertainment was not crowded around a screen, rather it was sitting on the living room floor playing “huga huga handful” or store purchased games like Chutes and Ladders, Parcheesi, or our homemade Wahoo board game. Or Tinker Toys, building a model, or reading a book.
There was, and is, a fond memory of those years that are often recalled as “The Simpler Times”.
But never again. Not in this present age. Everything is different, and nothing is even similar to my earlier years. Like a chameleon, it seems, we have adapted to the the current world and have accepted what was once rejected, ignored, or even unknown. In fact, we reject what was once accepted as normal and if you do not adapt to the present, then you are rejected as archaic, and just plain wrong. My normality is rejected, and your weirdness is not only accepted, promoted and lauded, but has become the Rule of Law.
The differences are not simple to understand. The coasts of our nation have become as different from the breadbox of our continent, almost diametrically opposed to each other. Or so it seems. The large populated cities, counties and states become the voting block that drives the politics of local and national choices. It’s difficult to hear, much less understand, the conversation because we are in a time of shouting discourse. The louder noise drowns out all others and force themselves into the limelight. They are right, and all others are wrong. Why? Not because they are right and all others are wrong. It’s simply because they are louder. They garner the attention. And we give it to them!
Media moguls want to sell the news to keep their profits high, but we continually see the cord cutting that forces business models to change. Almost daily we hear of the ESPN’s and Wall Streets [Source] of the world who are cutting their losses by cutting staff and services. Changing their focus. Entering the fray on social platforms that give them a broader, and louder, voice.
How do we bring about civility? I’m not sure it’s possible. The playing fields are too far apart for any sense to be made. One side does not want the other side to exist! Or, if they exist then do it in the dark. Silent. Shrunken and Shriveled. But listen to the talking heads and you realize that no one reporting has any idea on how to maintain a civil discourse. Even they are shouting, cutting each other off, and demeaning the positions opposite of their own bent.
But someone must reach across the void. Someone has to make the first move. How do we reclaim our past? Impossible. How do we move forward? That’s the real issue, as I see it. We cannot ignore what we do not understand, or disagree with. It’s a fact of life that the person living next to us is vastly different than ourselves, and we must accept them in light of our common ground. We do not have to agree. Just accept. We do not have to like. Just accept.
It’s not that we are accepting their differences into our homes and lives, rather, we realize that unless we learn how to co-exist we will never be able to work for the common focus of our nation, or our block. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Our nation is losing it’s focus for the future? Maybe. That’s a different conversation than now.
What we cannot do is unpack this present world into a fuzzy view of our past. It has changed. We are different.
“A difficult path is best followed when we bravely take that first step.” ~Michael Gurley
It will happen one person at a time, until every person is involved in the process. We cannot leave any view or voice out of the equation. How do we get every person involved? By reaching out regardless of their views, or our personal views. It will be difficult. Conversations will be tough. But it must happen if we are going to move forward!
“Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time.” ~Charles M. Schulz
One person. One problem. One challenge. One step at a time.
It will not mean that I change my core values or belief. Rather, I realize that the world is constantly evolving and I must find ways to “evolve” with it without being “changed” by it.
“I am what I am…” Accept it. Let’s talk…
Will it be easy? I’m sure it will be one of the most difficult things to do. Emotions can be enemy to civility, because we feel attacked regardless of who is emotional and which side of the equation someone finds themselves to live!. We move into a hot zone of not communicating rationally. We need someone to “ring the bell” and give us time to go back to our separate corners. Three minutes are enough! Rest a moment. Then re-engage!
Again. That’s why we must all take that first step. Let’s do it!
One last thing, because this is who I am.
I stood on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. March, 2013. It was in a place that history suggests Jesus stood and taught what is commonly called “The Sermon on the Mount”. It is multiple chapters long, but actually full of small sub-thoughts that make up his larger message. In fact the leading message to this time period is all about Jesus.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25 NKJV)
He went everywhere. Reaching out to everyone. Performing miracles all along the way. He became popular and had many followers. His message was different than they most had ever heard. He did not preach a message of violence in a land and time that was overwhelming to the conquered people. He did not preach rebellion. Hate speech. Rejection. He did not alter the message of his people. They still needed to follow God, and their laws were still in place, and sin was still something to stay away from.
But his focus was on a different path. There were new attitudes to be like, you know, The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12). It was a different message, but nothing they could not handle. He even introduces that new Greek word of “love” that essentially shows us a sacrificial view of on old topic… Sacrifice your love for those different than yourself!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV)
The world exists and is full of righteous and unrighteous. We do not choose only to reach out our love for those that are like ourselves, rather we are to love and reach those that are opposite and different than ourselves. Why. Because Jesus tells us to. Do not reject just because they are different, but use that difference to show the Love that Christ has given us.
I’m just saying. When no one else has the decency or knowledge to let love be the way to reach someone, let your love (light) reach them… They will never see it coming!
So…Every Morning, evolve into a better You! That’s a life well lived.