Folks my age and older have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to judging and making declarations about the next generations. I’m not saying that some, maybe even most of what is said about them isn’t true, but we rarely stop to consider the world they viewed with wide-eyed wonder when it was their turn.
The things that the next generations have possessed are rarely caused by them…
I remember my dad telling us about his life on the farm. About pickin’ cotton as the son of a dirt-poor sharecropper. He chuckled as he rarely reminisced his early years and the lack of running water, the shared outhouse, and the JC Penney catalog.
That catalog was a valuable commodity for poor folks. A person, young or old, could flip through the pages and dream of having the finer things in life. They could fantasize about the distant future when they might have running water, fine clothes, and a home that could keep the snow out.
But that was a distant future and life for others. Their life was ripping those dreams out page by page, day by day, to use for what folks with running water and indoor plumbing could afford not to.
A kid from a more privileged upbringing has a hard time relating to other people’s stories from a generation when the standard of living sounded like something from a John Steinbeck novel.
My dad’s older sister lived in the same simple manner the majority of her life. That fact gave my siblings and I a taste of the world and the generation that forged the trail in front of us.
The California desert along the Colorado River is dreadfully hot in the Southwest summertime. Counting my aunt, uncle, and all the cousins, there were nine of them that shared the outhouse that was about fifty yards from the house. Not nearly far enough when the rare summer breeze kicked up. Using that facility brought a real meaning for what that generation used to describe as, “God-awful”.
I pondered my kin that used it every single day. I thought about my dad’s family of eleven that shared the same type of life. The nine by nine room I shared with my two brothers along with the shower all six of us split time using took on a whole new level of appreciation.
I’ve lamented a time or two over my kids and their perspective on life. They never asked to live in the manner that we’ve provided. The life the next generations know is the one we built and painted for them.
I lay in bed pondering my dreams and prayers. It’s easy to fall into the trap of our answered prayers. We tend to cherish the provision sometimes over the Provider.
I thought of the humble and sweet prayers of the simple man that uttered them in earnest. Then I prayed the words again with the same honesty, “Father, thank you so much for Your protection and provision. For the roof over our heads, for this warm bed.”
I slept like a baby remembering that God loves a humble heart.
May the next generations learn that from Him and this one.