Yesterday, as I performed the perfunctory lunchtime Facebook scroll, I came across this quote:
If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values: that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control — MLK, Jr.
I let his wise words soak in. If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values. That’s it, isn’t it? We’re one-directional; no one – or surely not enough of us – is going back. Or even looking back.
We’re all so busy moving forward, getting ahead, earning (and buying) more, keeping up…we forget to turn back, or we’re flat-out not interested. We leave the old stuff, the deep stuff, the stuff that matters, buried in the proverbial dust.
New isn’t, by default, better. While no one will argue the benefits of modern medicine, or the instant-gratification high we get from smart phones and Skype, blogging and social media, there’s something crucial missing. Something is silencing that small, still voice that informs our hearts, our priorities.
The symptoms are easy to spot, the man who snaps at a fellow pedestrian for walking too slow; the child in the grocery store who threatens her mom with a screaming fit (and the mom who is rendered powerless by onlookers); the silent streets (my mother swears her childhood neighborhood bustled with playing children).
Come now, June, we live in a two-income society. Our hands are tied.
Families are scattered…gymnastics, soccer, day care, divorce…everywhere but together for any meaningful length of time. Bullying. Hollywood gods. Honey Boo Boo. Suicide. Newtown.
We are forgetting the things that matter. We are lacking the manifestation of “those precious values.” What happened to dinner at the table? What happened to the Golden Rule? What happened to respecting our elders? Duty? Commitment? Doing the right thing even when no one’s looking? Preparing our children for the Real World?
These are the things we see when we look back. These things transcend time. They may not be the easiest path, but they will never fail us.
Unless we forget them.
If we forget, if we fail to look back, if we never pass these things on to our children…what then?
I don’t know. What do you think? Am I being melodramatic? Are we on the Right and True path and I just don’t know it? Are we moving forward toward Utopia…or Rome, redux?