Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why. – Kurt Vonnegut
Trapped within the amber of the moment here in the US clarifies life. The sheer magnitude of ongoing rotten events shredded many veils of self-delusion. If you’ll pardon the comparison, but the cumulative impact of so much bad news reminded me of a time I went to visit my Dad. He was in his early eighties. My kids and I lived next door. I had gone over to check in with him to make sure he was okay. I knocked he didn’t answer. He usually shouted: come in or just a minute. Our family home is about five hundred square feet so he definitely could hear me knocking. So, I walked in and there he was, in all his nude glory just standing in the living room. Thank God he was facing away from me. But that brief glimpse of the pale pallor of his flat ass is seared into my mind. Just as the inexplicably hideous behavior of so many people in this country, warts and all, is scratched into my memory.
The curtain has been pulled back on cultural illusions, and I will ever be able to unsee the shocking truth. Without national leadership for months on end now, we have all been at the mercy of the worst of us. The bad behavior of groups and individuals in the face of psychological, spiritual, health and economic emergencies pounds away at society’s cultural foundation. The structure of America itself is under stresses unseen in living memory. Our country is currently enduring some of its darkest days. At the same time, far too many spineless politicians continue to scheme out ways to gain an advantage during the onslaught of misery. These swine are in essence playing politics with the suffering of millions. Sitting here suspended in the amber of the moment, I take comfort in knowing, the makeshift walls they are hiding behind will crumble. They always do. There is no why to what they do, beyond greed.
Just as amber conducts electricity, transformational energy surges through these dark days. That energy is coming from the younger generations. I am so proud of them. A clear message has been sent globally for young people to reconstruct a better world from the remnants of the old world. Have no doubt that the world that once was will not be returning. As a mature adult (nice way to avoid saying old), I can say without hesitation – God bless the youth of this world. They continue to give me hope while I remain trapped within the amber of the moment.
In Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” his character Miranda says innocently, “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in it.” She praises the men she has encountered. But her father Prospero knows the wickedness of the men, and answers her with “’Tis new to thee.” Throughout history the role of the older generation is to guide the younger – to point out the wicked and profane. Aldous Huxley’s ironically used the phrase brave new world as the title of his 1932 novel, for he knew powerful people corrupted whatever they touched. But we temporarily live in an upside down world now where the youth must lead us into the new lands ahead. For the sake of the future, the elders must step aside and follow the lights shining from the hearts of the young. Their sweet souls are the only reason why I need to follow them.
Those of us who are mature adults should do our best to stand between the greedy and self-serving in order to prepare the way for the young. When spring returns, help the young people sew the seeds of a better world. Take these indelible memories of the time we are passing through, and memorialize them. But do not allow the toxic behaviors to survive. I will close with the end of a speech from Abraham Lincoln in which he reminds us, this too will pass.
“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! — how consoling in the depths of affliction! “And this, too, shall pass away.” And yet let us hope it is not quite true. Let us hope, rather, that by the best cultivation of the physical world, beneath and around us; and the intellectual and moral world within us, we shall secure an individual, social, and political prosperity and happiness, whose course shall be onward and upward, and which, while the earth endures, shall not pass away.”