Thursday, November 8, 2012

Every Generation...

I have been reflecting on past generations lately.

More accurately, I been trying to imagine the fear that past generations had when looking ahead at the future of their world and country and the obstacles that their children would be made to face.

I don't like where I was born in history, I never have.

Even as a child, I imagined about being a child pioneer in a covered wagon with my parents headed west.  I imagined living in the Victorian age and wearing dresses every day and having to sit still and sew and "be seen and not heard". I imagined living during the Civil War on a big plantation in the south. I imagined that my bicycle was a horse because horses were the means of transportation. Whatever my imagined scenario, I was always in another time.

I still feel out of place in my current generation.

I have manners, etiquette, modesty, propriety, privacy. I enjoy hand-writing letters. I expect to be called Mrs. Miller. I wear skirts to work every day. I could be happy in a place like Mayberry.

When I think about the future, I am fearful.  The Bible tells us not to fear for the future, but I do.  I can pray over my fear, and even surrender them some days -- until I imagine having children and then my fears are bigger, bolder, more terrifying than ever before.

The only thing that brings me any comfort is that every generation of wise parent has had these same fears for the future of their children (which is really sad that every generation had cause to fear for the future instead of feeling hope for the future).

I think the most fear-filled time for parents in our country was during the Colonial time.  Colonists were less and less happy being under the rule of the King of England and war was coming.  This war would be fought in the back yards of families.  If my history is accurate, this was the most dangerous war for women and children.  I fear for the world my children will inherit -- mothers in Colonial times wondered if their children would live to inherit anything.

How did mothers who were slaves look to a future of hope for their children when their children were born into slavery.  Born as property that could be bought and sold?  What fear those mothers and mothers-to-be must have carried.

Mothers in the south after the Civil War, when their world and everything they knew had been completely shattered, taken, burned.  How can you teach your children to survive in a world that is unrecognizable to everything you've ever known?

My father was born during the Great Depression.  Did his mother wonder how and when the country would ever recover?  Did she fear for the world after the war?  Did she see the hints of change coming?  Fatherless children, Polio, drugs, sex, rock-and-roll, women's "liberation", children without stable homes, divorce, and abortion?

The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War? Swine Flu, and Bird Flu, and Aids, and Terrorism, and Cancer...

Every mother throughout time has worried about the world her children were inheriting... and as the examples above indicate, justifiably so.  Yet generation after generation has survived (for better or worse) and found a new batch of fears regarding their own children.

Maybe that's why God told us so often to fear not.  He knew, generation to generation to generation, fear would be a constant.

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