The dateline on your newspaper may indicate Thursday, yet it’s early Monday morning as I write these thoughts.
I’ve opened a window above my desk. It seems to be a rather peaceful and quiet morning, despite recent events. The skies are calm and blue, and there’s a trail of exhaust from a jet, high above where birds fly. Travel is slowly beginning to somewhat resume. That’s a good sign. My family is becoming a bit restless after being confined for most of the spring and longing to travel somewhere –maybe sometime later this year.
I think of the astronauts who blasted off from Florida, and consider them lucky to get away from the earth for a while. If they look from the International Space Station, can they spot this little section of geography where my family and I consider home? Perhaps they have powerful equipment and can look deeply into our atmosphere. If they can spot our location from way out there, will we only be viewed as a tiny, somewhat insignificant speck on our world’s big surface?
As small as we may seem from space, though, our concerns can loom large. Stress is often inevitable during difficult moments while we attempt to be responsible and remain safe; while we strive to be fair and just; and while we try to respond with proper respect and love toward others. We have to learn and practice appropriate habits of good citizenship. We need to recognize correct information and correctly react to it because we’re ultimately accountable for our actions.
My parents loved and supported me through my childhood and guided me onto my path toward adulthood. Simply listening to Dad share stories of his early years helped me develop values. He had been a child of the Depression who often talked of his experiences during his early years. To help his family survive those difficult days, he sometimes took odd jobs. One task, cleaning out chicken houses, earned a quarter a day. His stories convinced me hard work and perseverance would eventually provide one with success. Just as his parents had supported him during that time, our father supported his sons while we were growing up. Finally, a motto he lived by became one I adopted: “Pay as you go, so you won’t owe.”
While I don’t anticipate the coming of another economic depression like the one my father experienced, I do anticipate some difficulties for a while. I wonder and sometimes worry what my children and grandchildren can expect in their futures.
During the past few months the grandchildren had to deal with situations I never encountered when their ages. While I do sympathize with their endurance during their school’s last semester, and while I realize they may miss some summer job opportunities and other usual summertime activities, I have faith better times will be in their futures.
After studying news reports describing situations of divisiveness, one grandchild asked me, “Have there been times like this before?”
I nodded. “There was quite a bit of unrest during my teenage years. I followed news of Civil Rights marches back then. Assassinations of the Kennedys and Dr. King come to mind. From time to time, much violence. Of course, there was the war in Vietnam.”
I commented about my Dad’s involvement in World War II, and told her of an uncle who’d been a soldier in World War I and lost his life during the Spanish Flu epidemic. “There have been tense times throughout history, I guess.”
So, those have been my thoughts on this new morning of this new month. In this time of Covid-19, economic difficulty, and tremendous divisiveness in our nation, a new beginning seems most welcome. I’m hopeful.