Visiting rural America is a treat and a harsh reminder, all in one. The scene, memories from days gone by are positive reminders of priorities that we once held close. At the same time there are signs of everything we have tried to leave behind – bigotry, anger, and self centric behaviors. We often long for the past failing to remember that there were two sides present on every occasion. I wonder if anything has really changed, if the lessons of yesterday were left lying on the pile of wood just outside of the house.
You can see the signs of what used to be; homes that have fallen into a state of living disrepair. You can imagine the heyday of business that remained in one part of town while others moved; an original Krystal Diner still stands in the city limits of Chattanooga near the Georgia state line. The glory of yesterday still shimmers in the tall stacks of industry standing idle near the city center.
Yet the frustration of days gone by remains; just watch cars during rush hour. The self centric drives have not diminished, and are probably stronger than ever; just look at the clothes, cars, houses, and other material possessions that people give up their lives to achieve. The pattern of our fathers and their fathers is being repeated in life today. Tradition continues, regardless of our protests to the contrary! In face we are not immune. At the end of time, “when the thousand years are up, Satan will be let loose from his cell, and will launch again his old work of deceiving the nations, searching out victims in every nook and cranny of earth, even Gog and Magog!” (Revelation 20.7) Everyone is repeating habits of old!
I forget that each day is an opportunity to begin a new cycle – one full of compassion, mercy, and acceptance. You and I can make a difference; we can begin a new movement that will change life as we know it and touch the lives of people around us. I am definitely ready.