It isn’t because I don’t cry out the injustice of a life taken too soon. I grieve those deaths tremendously. But, we are more verbal about losses when there is no rhyme or reason - as in, suffering the loss of a child -- or anyone under 80, for that matter. We have become blasé about the death of our elders. We soothe ourselves with rote responses like, "Well, they've lived a good, long life." Although, it may be true -- that the aged have lived good, long, lives and have left behind legacies of knowledge and wisdom, they leave us alone to carry on. The boomers are now in the last stages of losing their parents. My parents were “unjustly” taken from me before they reached their 70’s.
Recently, with this acknowledgment, it hit me like a bolt of thunder that one of my greatest fears is losing the wisdom of these elders before we have finished our apprenticeship in learning to govern, teach, share and love. We have depended on their wisdom and now it is us -- ME that will take over. Our parents and the parents before them survived the two great wars, the great depression and built a country together without the divisive and undermining tactics our generation is embracing. They, in fact, are called. ” The Building Generation.” Following in their footsteps, was the “The Quiet Generation,” a generation who grew up as children in the post-depression, too young to serve in World War II, and benefited from the “We Did It!” influence after the previous generation won the war. There were plenty of jobs and new industry and the building of great homes. And, although they rode the coattails of the Building Generation, the drive to survive was not embraced, simply because they didn’t need it as much. But this generation did embrace the importance of staying united and working together. Both of these generations are dying off. And somehow, we have come to a point in our human evolution where we stand divided.
We have forgotten how much we need one another. We have forgotten how important it is to honor one another’s differences while pulling together for the common good. We are now living in a state of fear that we have festered ourselves. We have shown, as a country, that we can unite against those who attack us as a whole, but we have failed as a nation to unite as civil and loving people. Our fear is manifested in bigotry, judgment, racism, cop hating, blasphemy, and arrogant Bible thumping. Where there is love, hate has become the shade of shame. Hate has risen to the top of the pile, because love is being bullied. It’s time to recognize that there are only two places to be in life. With Hate or with Love. Hate is fear with a voice.
My father and mother preached love. My father was especially vocal about loving one another and following the golden rule. He wasn’t particularly fond of churches, but he did a pretty good job at showing us how to love. I miss that. My father cared. He saw the worst of the worst when his Army Company was called into Dachau to clean up the concentration camp after the US ran the Germans out. He saw hate in “living” color. He learned from that horrific lesson that fear, manipulation and hate would end our society and though he hid the truth of the Dachau moments deep in his heart until right before his death, his heart used that pain as a launching pad to keep love the dominate reaction to life.
I believe in that love, but today, as I watch the response to massive shootings, vulgar statements from Christian extremists, and “trollers” on the Internet, whose purpose in life is to create anger, I cringe. I cry out in a blistering rage from a fear that NO ONE CARES! People are screaming out for one another from fear. Fear is not rational.
I don’t want to walk this life alone. I want to take on the “Builder Generation” attitude of unity and love and build from the worst circumstances. I want to learn from 9/11 and mass shootings. I want to learn how to be united even during the most heated debates about gender equality, abortion, and gun control. I want to recognize the fear in the hearts of those who are angry and bathe them in a soothing salve of love and understanding. I want to walk with those who disagree and be there with those from whom I can learn.
I don’t’ want to walk alone. We need each other to be kind and welcoming and understanding. We need to walk a spiritual path that leads to the pure core of Love,
We are scattering like billiard balls in a break. We are hit with unimaginable circumstances, like 9/11, mass shootings and a dysfunctional political system. We are hit; one at a time, from all sides, and end in a pocket of darkness. Only love can rack us up and gather us back together and keep us in the light.
We need each other. The circle is broken and the only way – the ONLY way to make this circle complete again, is to reach out and take someone’s hand. You don’t have to agree with them and you don’t even have to understand their fear. You only have to take their hand and say, “I am here.”