My children (ages 18 and 13) are frightened by the state of the world. They watch the news and wonder if theyíll see adulthood. Theyíve expressed their fear of the biblical end, the apocalypse, and wonder if we arenít now witnessing the beginning of itís unfolding. I write this for them.
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Itís true, it is a scary time to live. There are wars, terrorists, famines and genocides. The tsunami and hurricanes and earthquakes of late certainly seem to point to prophetic stories. And now a new fear of a flu pandemic.
Let these not drive you with fear, but with courage, for every age has itís horrors as well as itís achievements.
When I was a child we had air-raid drills in school. We would curl up in a ball next to the wall under the windows when ever the siren would go off, not knowing if this was, indeed, a drill- or were there real bombs hurling through the atmosphere? Living within minutes of Washington, D.C. we had no doubt if Russia were to send her missiles we would be at the top of the list for the strike.
Our young, handsome president was shot and killed. His ideals of what one could do for their country taken down in Dallas; His pretty wife spattered with his blood and brain.
I watched Martin Luther King address the nation from the Lincoln Memorial: ďI have a dream.Ē Another dreamer, trying to herald up humanity to follow through to righteous altruism, murdered for his beliefs.
I witnessed the race-riots of D.C. and Chicago.
I cried to see the multitude of flag draped caskets of young boys sent to a mindless war, every night on television. My brotherís number came up to go to Vietnam the spring he died. I had friends and brothers of friends who came back no longer whole, missing arms and legs and parts of their soul.
My parents had World War II, and Korea. My father fought in Italy, at the age of 22, and returned with pictures of Mussolini hanging upside down and dead in some Italian plaza.
They had many friends who didnít make it home.
They also survived The Great Depression, and the Great Dust Bowl, and waves of polio, which left many of their day debilitated or worse.
My grandparents had WWI, and the Spanish flu out-break. They had famines to deal with when many, many died. They would have lots of children back then, to try to guarantee that some might make it to adulthood.
The previous generation had the Civil War, on this soil, where brother fought brother in a bloody, bloody war.
I donít know the particulars of the natural disasters of each generation, but you can be sure each had its own to deal with. The world was larger then, and so all nations were not privy to the sufferings of others as we are today.
All generations have their tragedies.
Donít let the tragic blind you to the honorable and holy, for I promise every generation has itís share of the bounty there, as well.
It is a frightening time to be alive, I grant you. But that is true for all times. Keep your heart right, and be brave.
There are some who will die in tragedy and others will live to a ripe old age. It is the way of life. Take the bad and find a way to make some good. Be an example of courage and faith and I promise you will accomplish in this lifetime exactly what you were purposed to do. Take heart! Be smart and be compassionate.
Life is valuable!