There are events that happen to a culture that often stick like super glue has applied them. I used to be thrilled with stories my mom would tell about the depression. It seemed like such a glamorous time. But my folks didn’t seem to want to be part of another one. And then I read about 25% or better of the work force being out of work and I decided sometimes memories are just stimulating no matter if their good or bad. And we like to be stimulated.
Some of my “stick like glue events” were:
The death of JFK. I was in seventh grade. The speaker in our school band room came on and we all went silent. We spent the rest of the day listening to the radio events. I connect the emotion of fear with the event. I was sure it must be the start of a war. Most all my generation can tell you where they were. It did cause a good bit of cynicism to rise about the world and the desire for a new one.
I also can tell you exactly where I was when Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released by the Beatles. I was eating a burger with some friends sitting in our car at the Artic Circle drive-in when it came on the radio. It was an awesome sound. I haven’t heard anything that just held me in awe like that experience. I still listen to it today and find it comforting and calming.
The death of Robert Kennedy did me in. I think at that point some of my youthful anger and angst was fully fueled. It was such a weird and painful event. It is one that I still can’t place anywhere that is close to rational.
The gas lines of ’73 still linger in my brain. I like to keep my tank full ever since then. I remember lines going for blocks waiting to get a little fuel. The oil producers were cutting us off for our support of Israel. It seemed like a worthwhile reason to be cut off. But it was hard. I remember it showed me how truly vulnerable we are to the macro events of the world. I was a senior in college so I was bent toward being philosophical about life.
I will neither ever forget when one of my supposed best friends was caught embezzling money from the church we worked for. I was embarrassed I had even been in the near vicinity to the crime. I don’t think I have ever had my complete trust in people restored. And sometimes that is good, sometimes its bad. But it is still a reality.
I moved to Seattle in ’81 and soon started a church. It felt like home for 100 years after the last piece of furniture made it into the house. I remember ten of us sitting around our living room eating McDonald’s breakfast. They had just that week begun selling breakfast. We read the Bible and laughed a lot and decided to meet the following week. They are still meeting every week only there are several thousand of them now.
In 2007 Lori and I loaded up and moved to Boise. Our first trip here was like we had lived here 100 years. We loved and love it here. I will remember that first affirmation from God that we were making the right step to Boise and away from the city we loved, Seattle. I think it is important to connect on an emotional spiritual level with ministry assignments. And to find spots being just your size and shape waiting for you.
Obviously the most memorable of occasions was the date in December that I surrendered completely to Christ. I had no idea what I was doing. I prayed by myself and just said, “here you go – here’s my life.” And he took it. And I am grateful to this day.
Our lives are built around events that are glued like strings to one another. We interpret new stuff based on how we experienced the old stuff. The key is being open to new connections without losing the old. Some people fight the new that comes along.