Every generation believes the generations before them no little or nothing, at least until they have a few miles on them. Certain cultures infuse a level of respect, yet I find it often given out of practice. There is little content behind the motions. I rarely find genuine interest in the stories of old. Experience ranks extremely low on the scale of what can be gained, received, or pulled form one’s elders. It is as if the discover of all things news is the most important thing in life; how, why, or where one ends up is totally secondary.
As I have aged, I find myself wondering how many stories, experiences, and glimpses of wisdom I left unopened, untouched, and squandered until they were no longer available. The list is, unfortunately far longer than I would expect. Even if I ignore the wisdom and willingness to engage expressed by my grandparents and their peers, I find myself looking at an endless list of missed windows when it comes to my parents and friends. The list does not see to change with time, even though I have moved into the graying generation.
I find myself holding onto a truth. Even as “the children born in your exile will be saying, ‘It's getting too crowded here. I need more room.’” (Isaiah 49.20) I know the only response that matters is love, compassionate, understanding, and gracious. Even as one I care deeply about walks ignorantly of the truths I know well, my role is to support and nurture them in a way consistent with the Spirit’s plan. Even as Evil inflicts pain and anguish, my call is to be present and available. Lectures are not the answer. Information is not the answer. Trust filled, engaged compassion, and unending patience are principles worthy of gods. They are also ours, in every generation and time.
Today, new is king. We can be unique originals; models of grace, examples of acceptance, and guides for the next generation. It is a calling worthy of the best of what we are and can be.
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