Every generation thinks they are charting undiscovered territory. Each, as they reach the boundary of the area surveyed, wants to believe that they were the first and most successful in experiencing life. Is anything really new? Is the core of our experience and journey the same today as the centuries before?
The reason I find these questions critical is our ability to accept the difference in color, tone, and shape of today is often determined by how closely they resemble the details of when we were in the magical age of all things new. We believe the lyrics of songs are different from when we were young. Pop songs have followed a formula for success that remains unchanged across the generations. The temptations of the 1920s were, in too many ways, early echoes of what children face today. Listen to the heart of a traditional Portuguese ballad and you will hear the lament and tears of every generation for the last three hundred years.
Two aspects continue to haunt my walk. First, I am sure that my daughters will be as willful, stubborn, and careless as I was in my own choices. If they do this then my parental fears tell me there is no hope. It is so easy to forget and ignore God’s work through the Presence.
Second, I assume that everything of earlier generations through mine is “just fine” and perfectly acceptable. Is this really true? “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 18.9) Music, behaviors, and choices that lead me anywhere but to God are a recipe for self destruction. Yet I find myself making them everyday.
There is good news. God knows every weakness that you, the girls, and I have today and tomorrow. He hates the negative with a furry that I do not want to imagine however loves us each with even greater intensity. God offers us more than an alternative; He offers each life, recreation, and a fullness with peace that is found no where else.