Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Morning Meds--Help!

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?” Psalm 121:1

I wasn’t sure where my daughter’s question came from, and I was busy thinking of something else at the time.  That’s why I didn’t give her a very good answer, not a fatherly answer anyway. 

“When you were my age,” she said, sort of laughing, “did you ever think that the world was just going to come to an end?” 

My daughter was 30 at the time, the age I was when my wife and I had her. Truth be told, right then I couldn’t remember ever thinking the world was in imminent danger of coming to an end.  I smiled and said no, rolled my eyes, and turned back to the computer screen.

Later, I couldn’t sleep.

I was a kid, but I remember learning to crawl under my school desk should nuclear holocaust come to Oostburg, Wisconsin.  I grew up in the Cold War, when the Soviets were capable of pushing the wrong button or pushing the right one wrongly. 

I remember walking on a football field during the Cuban missle crisis and having a profound talk with a kid about whether or not we’d ever play a game.  We both knew football was a metaphor; we were talking about the end of the world.

I remember the comet Kahoteck and Y2K.  I remember a number of primitive eschatologies—Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, for instance—that numbered our days by manipulating ancient calendars vaguely suggested in the odd visions of minor prophets.  End-times theology does well often. Not long ago, everyone and their pet hamster wanted not to be Left Behind.

If you ask me—and she once did--I believe her generation lives in more fear than mine did. I was reared with more freedom than her kids will ever see.  When I was ten, my friends and I took our bikes down to Lake Michigan and lost ourselves and our inhibitions in endless lakeshort woods. Today all that land is private property; but today, no parent would allow a ten-year-old kid that kind of freedom. 

The change in parents’ attitudes toward their children was immense in the years I was a teacher. Loving, helicopter parents, moms and dads who ask more questions about college than their children do, visited campuses every spring for the last two decades already, lugging their children with, most of them far less interested than they were. I never visited the college where I enrolled. Come September, my parents drove me there—500 miles—then left. That was it.

As I write, the Brits have suffered several vicious attacks of terrorism. Our President uses their tragedy to urge the implementation of his orders to shut the door to immigrants from certain Muslim countries. Some object, but fear is a motivator, and a political motivator too, to be sure. Fear sells.

So, my daughter, this is a better answer than my eye-rolling:  yes, I’ve felt as if the world was about to end. I’m guessing we all have. We’ve all been afraid.  Even the psalmist. 

While the psalms tell us bountifully about God, they’re even better at telling us about ourselves. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills,” he says in verse one of this faith-heavy psalm, “—where does my help come from?” There are times we all feel there’s no one out there to hold back the horror.

You’re not alone. But that’s divinely true, isn’t it? It’s a joy to know you’re not alone.
The photo at the top is this morning's early morning sky. 

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