My grandfather lived through the depression. I am quite sure that he felt its impact – directly, tangibly, and with force. In contrast to his peers that I listened to, I never heard him link his spendthrift ways to that time. I do not recall a single story of how bad things were. As I reach for memories, it was as if that era was a time just like any other – filled with hard work and opportunities.
I do recall grandfather’s stories of fear. They never seemed to be about his way of living, financial situation, or standing in life. In these, he seemed quietly confident.
Our age is different. Many worry about their financials. While the reasons vary, a majority fears their way of living is ending. Every has felt their standing in life shaken, even the ones that are still comfortable. If there is a way of capturing how we feel, two words come to mind – fear and panic. As a community, we panicked. Whatever our current state is, we are living in and with fear. Our behaviors tell this story. Our choices on several fronts affirm this state of being. For many, life has fundamentally changed. What was is gone. What will be is unknown.
We are not the first generation to be in this state. For one, when a new hope arrived, “some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed.” (Acts 13.50) They panicked. They tried to protect what was. They missed an opportunity for something better.
My reminder to you and my heart is this.
Life is for our embrace. It will come with happiness and sadness, joy and pain, wonder and puzzles. Living, engaged and full, is an opportunity available to all.
Life will always be greater than our vision. We can react in fear to what we do not know or reach into the unknown. Either will be a choice.
Life is community and relationships. We are never alone.