It was the late 60’s; we were young and had immersed ourselves in the music and culture of a new age. Mesmerized by the steady drumbeat we could not recognize the incessant beating of our own wings as we flew too close to the sun.
We demanded change shouting that the “church of man” was built on nothing more than hypocrisy. If we could tear it down then something new would rise up and take its place. We lamented as CSNY wailed, “Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground.”
What rose instead was a mindless culture of self. “If it feels good do it,” we chortled, denying the Sunday school teachings about Christ, self-control and deprivation in search of spiritual growth.
We called it the “Age of Love,” but unlike Christ we loved ourselves more than our brothers and sisters. We confused sex with love while “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
Today most have at least begun to breathe an air of reality that is no longer clouded by the smoke of blinding idealism. We can hear the message of our fathers. We know that as they toiled at the “machine”, they loved us. As they wearily trudged to church angry with the “hippies and protesters”, they prayed for forgiveness for us and for themselves.
Yet we could not see them then there on their knees crying out in suffering that their children would be lost.
Many foundered in a world without values, taking not giving, yearning for all the wrong things. So we sang with glee along with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” not recognizing our festering pride.
Pied Pipers of the New Age we were steeped in drugs, unable to resolve our own inner conflict. We no longer wielded the bolt cutters that had once set us free from chains of delusion. We short stepped in our shackles until it seemed as if the music had died. All that remained was the haunted echo of a dream.
Today we stand as fathers ourselves hoping like those before us that our children can find their way. Yesterday a man came and told me that one day he had met my son. He told me that my son was beautiful and I thought he meant his chocolate flowing hair and pearly smile.
Then this grizzled old warrior looked me in the eye and said, “When I shook his hand, I couldn’t help but see his clear, pure spirit. It made me love him. It made me want to hug him but I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable so I walked away feeling somehow better for having shook his hand and looked him in the eye.”
Today the music plays again.