Aren't you afraid things are out of control with this pandemic and all? Does it make you feel helpless or fearful? Any emotional strain or drain? Is our leadership a shambles?

David Ben-Gurion: "Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared."

  It is claimed that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a complete short story using only six words. This was the story said to have been written on a napkin to win a ten-dollar bet.

  "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

A sad story of hopes and dreams that did not come with its reward.

  My generation, arguably and quite possibly the most history-laden of any recorded lifetime in the whole of cultural historical past and present; having been bombarded with more tragedy: moral, theological, and technological mishaps; excuses, and discoveries since the days of Job.

  We are the first generation to have listened to the soul shredding stories of Auschwitz and the Nazi regime as it tramped down the wounded spirits and established the lasting wretched hatred of our families toward that suffering of those needlessly lost to charismatic madness.

  We have survived with elementary training in stop-drop-and roll, fire escape drills, and hiding under our desk in the event of a nuclear attack as the cold war heated up. Civil servants checked our air-raid sirens and watched over and supervised the building of the backyard bomb shelters to protect our communities from thermal destruction and fallout, but in the memory of James Dean; we kept our cool.

  We remember the day the music died in Clear Lake, and "The Greatest" stuck to his guns and was stripped of his championship belt.

 We learned from our Weekly Reader as Able and Baker became the first to successfully return to Earth after space flight. The Russians soon launched Yuri Gagarin to be the first man in space. The race to the moon was underway.

 The threat of war and annihilation by missile attack presented itself just ninety miles off our southern shore from an island the size of the state of Florida, the home of Cape Canaveral. Nikita the butcher, testing the resolve of a first-term President and war hero to take on the Red Bear.

 President John F. Kennedy, "The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing. The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are--but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high--and Americans have always paid it."

 We have seen the tears of fear and grief of loss, and an unforgettable foggy and horrific distortion on the faces of our teachers and parents in a nightmarish shock; as a tool of terror assassinated our President from a warehouse window. We watched the slaughter of the misguided and undefended in Waco Texas and Jonesboro in the name of law and order; placed into action by self-proclaimed demigods on both sides of the fence. We continue to dump the future of our helpless unborn on the garbage heaps. We have watched man step onto the moon: fought in wars foreign and domestic in every decade of our lives in the name of patriotism and racial equality.

  WWII veteran and CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite spoke to America, "We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of American leaders, both in Vietnam and in Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds." 

Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew presents the Medal of Honor to the family of eighteen-year-old Marine Private First Class Robert Charles Burke on December 16, 1971; two years and seven months after the Marine was mortally wounded while saving his unit from destruction in the jungles of Operation Allen Brook. I wish he could only see me now and tell me; yes, it was worth it.

  We battle with the real and the evil personifications of perceived wars to this day. We have raised our children amidst the corruption of the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches of our government. Looked on as far right and far left thought demolishes our constitution. Seen the overwhelming advances in technology that no generation before us has ever known: and then become panic-stricken over Y2K security doubts.

   We have seen the Chicago Cubs win a World Series and disillusioned by world peace at the '72 Olympics. We witnessed the slaughter of innocent women and children in the Middle East Holy Jihads. Who could ever forget Idi Amin Dada Oumee's finest hour?

  We watched our soldiers march off and gave little thought to those never to return.  No man left behind continues to haunt us. Some never to have a home to return to from foreign lands; seeking revenge on selfish and unknown twisted souls that brought down our twin towers; and watched our passive domestic nature crumble in smoke and screams at the Mecca of World Peace, Power, and Trade.

  We watch as our young search for meaning in their life, turning to drugs, alcohol, or any other means to stave off their boredom and loss of hope and shamelessly used in the formula of the human moral responsibility; still confused about who's lives matter. The Rolling Stones needed Shelter as Charles Milles Manson was helter-skelter.

 If you would ask me if I hope to survive in the middle of this pandemic? My short answer would be: to survive in any crisis, be very aware that you, me, or anyone else will never be immune to its far-reaching contamination of body, spirit, and soul. The fear is not new, but will always be called by a different name.

  Today we see unscrupulous and selfish men and women as always, trying to rekindle old fears and grief by character assassinations of our leaders, cultures, military, police, and our elected Presidents in the name of freedom of speech and self-righteous indignation. From the TV screen and the halls of our institutions, a better idea is in the works that seldom works for all. Freedom of the truth today has little or no importance and is smothered and twisted by new definitions in the ways and means of a near-sighted political power and blame agenda. 

  Martin never carried a gun and had a dream in a world of fear and hatred. We see the scientific new world order of theologians, philosophers, and academia asking us to have complete confidence and faith in their faithlessness; that their secret wisdom will sustain our well being and provide us with the true north and south of our moral compass.

  But in spite of all the overwhelming discoveries and disappointments: we can still hope to cultivate and take root in fertile soil. Why? Because America always searches for that reason to believe; that most important inheritance we will ever need. Our hope of survival in any horrific situation or conception of evil is a promise that still continues to evade the calming effect on those many blinded by a single tree in that forest of good and plenty.

  The innate, out in plain sight, eternal search is our very real vision( if you have any pulse at all) of a real Heaven; how it came to be, where it is, and why it will not fail, and most of all; that all evil will be forgotten there forever. It is a predestined radiant art with no blank canvas or uncertainties in all its identities and the greatest philosophy of all. It is good and true for we have seen many rainbows after the severest storms.

 President Reagan said we are the last best hope for man, "We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind."

 We are the old scarecrows on watch in the field, as the rivers flow on; our fears are the tamed and wounded dragons that protect what is precious to us and yet confidently assured by the messenger of action: that without love we have wasted our time. We see our grandchildren like diamonds, precious and shining in the sun with all their innocence and dreams, as they carry our prayers to eternity.

  The whole text of our existence is summed in a complete six-word short story in the hope of our reality. We pray for mercy and the grace of God. As we give thanks for our blessings and to all those who have born the cross.

 "Fear God, and keep His Commandments."

That is the whole duty of man.

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