the greatest generation

On Friday, I interviewed a 94-year-old lady for next week’s newspaper column. I was excited about this interview because I’d heard great things about this woman, and on meeting her I was not disappointed. The article is about her involvement at our local community center, but as I asked questions we strayed into stories from her life. I confess, that’s what I really wanted to hear about.

Her story is unique and fascinating: she moved to Honolulu in the mid-1920s, back to California in the ’30s, and when her mom remarried a traveling showman they traveled the western half of the U.S. with a chimpanzee named the Duke of Wellington (part of her stepfather’s act). She married at 17 (in 1935!) and had four children. She and her husband were married 63 years before he passed away. She told me she’d written and self-published a book about her life experiences, mainly for her descendents. I expressed interest in the book and she is going to lend me a copy, which I’m excited to read.

After the interview, I expressed how much I’d enjoyed meeting her and said, “Lately I’ve been thinking how your generation understands life so much better than us, the younger ones.” I explained that I’ve been thinking about the Depression and World War II and how neither my generation nor my parents’ have had to endure that level of hardship.

She looked at me and said, “I think everyone should go through one week of the Depression.” That quote continues to echo in my mind.

I have felt an increasing awareness lately of the sense of entitlement in our culture. We mistakenly see gifts as rights. We take, take, take, and neglect to give. We are becoming less and less in tune with our bodies and spirits as we spend most of our time staring at electronic toys, immersed in the sub-par reality of the internet.

We are spoiled children. We whine when we think we’re doing without…When actually, we have no idea what it means to do without. Before they’re gone, we should talk to people who remember the Great Depression. Before they’re gone, we should talk to people who remember the sacrifices of World War II.

I’m pretty sure we’ll learn something.

the old songs still ring true…

Sometimes the old songs are the most healing. I remember listening to this years ago, yet it contains the truth I needed today. What a good God I know and love, who does not change and uses the same truth to lift me up again and again.

 

I’m swept away by the wonder of Your love
How One so great could love this one so small
And when I realize the distance between Your heart and mine
I’m amazed when You call me to Your side
I come to You
Not in my own strength
But in my weakness I embrace the One who’s strong
I come to You

To glory in Your grace
You’ve accepted me
In my frailty
So in humility
I come to You

I stand in awe at the power of Your grace
How One so great would suffer in my place
And when I realize the difference
Between Your thoughts and mine
I’m amazed when You call me to Your side

I surrender all I am
Lay my heart within Your hand
Knowing in my weakness You are strong
I come to You
Not in my own strength
But in weakness
I embrace the One so strong
I come to You
To glory in Your grace
You’ve accepted me in my frailty
So in humility

I come to You

 

(Bob Fitts, “I Come To You”)

 

My weakness becomes strength when I bring it to Him. I’m learning it again today, and will again tomorrow, and the next day and the next. I want to keep learning.