You know how you have those memories that are indelibly imprinted in your mind? The past 24 hours has surfaced a number of those in my life. The first is the anniversary of the tragedy that occurred on 9/11/01. Probably the majority of us remember exactly where we were when we first heard the news. I was driving down Mineral Point Road, approaching the light at South Gammon Road when I heard the announcement on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At that point, they didn’t even know the type of plane it was — whether a large jet or a light aircraft. And they did not yet have an inkling of the real scope of what was about to unfold. Although my memory is notoriously deficient, many of the details of that entire day are seared in my memory.
Today a whole new set of memories flooded my mind when I read the news of the savage and brutal attacks on our embassy in Libya and the ensuing murder of United States Citizens, including the ambassador. Do you remember when the U.S. Embassy in Iran was attacked and the occupants held as hostages? I sure do. Iranian students played a key role in that attack. There was also a very large contingent of Iranian students studying in the Universities here in the U.S. Although I was still in high school, I had a brother away at a University where many of the students were quite vocal about supporting the revolution in Iran. I worried about he and his families safety. Of course memories of the hostage crisis invoke memories of the policies of President Carter. And not just foreign policy memories like the bumbling of the hostage situation. But domestic memories.
I remember standing at the counter of the post office filling out my selective service form. The Iranian hostage crisis had ended just a few months before and memories of the not so distant Vietnam war played in my mind. Although the draft had ended around 1973, President Carter had recently decided that all young men such as myself should be registered “just in case.” Since I was the second oldest in my high school senior class, I was in the vanguard of my peers – many of whom were being pressured to register as “CO” due to their religious heritage/beliefs. I will never forget the weight of that moment, the soberness of that occasion. The knowledge that I could be called upon to give my life for my country and for my kin.
I remember where I was standing (the bedroom in the NW corner of our home) when I realized my dream of farming was dead on arrival due to inflation rates in the teens and interest rates around 20%.
All of these memories flood my mind today. They illicit so many questions, and uncover so many concerns. Concerns for our country, for our future. More specifically, concerns for my wife, for my children, and for their future. What does our future hold? Does it hold additional armed conflict in the middle east or other parts of the globe? Increased economic instability here at home? Or are these concerns all for naught?
Throughout the ages, men have faced times of crisis, times of difficulty, times of uncertainty. But the question still remains: how will we step up to each of these occasions? What is the proper response at a time such as this? How do we as men, as father’s, as husbands, prepare, protect and lead at times such as these? For the Christian man, I think this questions is doubly difficult. We seek to follow the teachings of Christ from within a culture that in many ways has become Christ-less. We seek to differentiate the clamoring cries of the culture warriors from the quiet voice of Christ.
The choices each of makes in how we approach these times of crisis, difficulty, and uncertainty will greatly affect the future of our family and our community – for better or for worse. Our culture specializes in slogans, bumper sticker philosophies and quick fixes. But the real answers for questions like these at times like these are far more complex. Answers that often seem inadequate, or frail. Answers that rely partly on faith, partly on wisdom, partly on experience. Answers that are often forged in the fire of experience. Answers that may be best learned, formed and articulated amongst a group of men who are committed to God, to family and to each other.
What do you think? I’m interested in your thoughts.