The Seasons are Changing


Ryan

I took the above photo of my son on the day of the funeral for my mother-in-law. That day was the end of an era. We would travel to grandma and grandpa’s house a few times each year including Thanksgiving. It was our vacation home…our home away from home. They would travel to our home too and bring surplus from their garden and little things they found around the house or at estate sales and we shared with them their love of collecting. Since grandma has been gone and now grandpa this year, we look around and see our home overflowing with many things. They are only symbols of our joy of family and of sharing and remembrance, but it is still challenging trying to store them or make the tough decisions, choosing which to sell or give away or throw away. The times have changed for us as a family, but what should we do with this new day?

There’s a parallel in my mind to what has been happening during this same period in our culture. A generation is leaving this world behind and those of us looking square in the face of a new day are looking at it through competing lenses. What “narratives” and slogans have been thrown around during this election season? In my geology class, we learned a lot about “sustainable” energy solutions. What about sustainable social solutions? Are there some political and cultural issues that are not sustainable? How do we know? How can we tell?  History tells a lot, I think. I found myself talking to a young man I used to know when he was a child in my Sunday School class years ago. He now has a doctorate degree in theology and I believe he teaches or plans to teach and is writing a book. We were talking about current events and I soon realized he and I were going to be on opposite sides of the fence on many, many issues. He summed up his views by saying something to the effect that this nation is coming to the realization that the only sustainable economic solution is socialism. Much of his rhetoric was vintage. It was very Russian-revolution-100-years-ago vintage. At the time he and I were discussing things, I was mid-term through my WWII history class and wondered if we were reading the same textbook, but with very divergent views of Joseph Stalin and his policy positions.  I became very alarmed about what this young man was teaching. How pervasive is this belief in the delightful wonders of socialism?

My grandparents were both from depression era, coal mining families. Neither of them finished grade school, yet they raised a large family and lived comfortably in retirement. My in-laws were WWII generation in mind and habit. Both grew up on the family farms. They were high school graduates, never went to college, but they owned their own home and raised a family on one income. My parents grew up in the city and were raised by working-class parents. My natural father is a naturalized citizen. He worked for years for an airline and is now happily retired and still very active. My mom and  step dad were the first college graduates in their families, but they worked hard to get that done and graduated together with masters degrees in their early 40’s. They had jobs from teen-hood through adulthood. They are now semi-retired, living comfortably except for the back pain and knee pain of growing older. My husband and I are still in the midst of raising a family. We own our own home…or rather own our own mortgage. We started college when we were young, but quit and got married instead. Now that we’ve seen two of our kids graduate from college it looked like something we wanted to do too. So, we returned and will graduate together next spring. This is little tour through my family history of the last 100 years is the lens through which I view culture.

My faith in God and his ways is foundational and woven through every fiber…

…my experience here in life on earth, in America, in the Midwest is one of family and friendship and neighborly fellowship and all the joys and sorrows we share together…

It is liberty and remembrance and industrious perseverance…

It is big and rich and full of life…

…as opposed to small, impoverished death – Walk away from that, friends. The seasons are changing.

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