it’s a thought most of us have heard expressed in some fashion:
ends well, or else it wouldn’t end.”
quote I’m using here is from a friend of mine, and it stands as
the first time I can recall ever hearing it given voice. She was
talking about a recent relationship, basically summarizing that
if things had been good near the end of it, she likely would still
be dating her ex-boyfriend. More to the point, if things had been
good, they wouldn’t have ended. (Apply to past, present and future
tenses as you see fit.)
won’t go too deeply into the conversation we had over lunch that
day—it’s the thought that counts here, and not the specifics—but
I do want to add one additional thought that I passed along in
return to her that day:
“People don’t change, even when we wish they would.”
with that, we have two blocks to use in our foundation. Let’s
have this belief about generations and memorable moments. And
before I share it, I should note that a basic idea swirling underneath
is the cliché that people that don’t learn from history
end up repeating it. Ok…
believe that all of us will have a handful of “where were you
when” moments during our life.
are those moments when we have an exceptional memory of time and
place for ourselves as individuals, though the event shared by
the masses almost certainly did not involve you.
Number One – I believe that universal moments take place roughly
at a rate of one every twenty years.
of course, isn’t true. At least not in the specific sense. Within
a five-year span of time there was an assassination attempt on
a U.S. President as well as a major disaster involving NASA and
a space shuttle mission.
sweep with a finer stroke. If asked for universal moments in the
past fifty years, chances are that neither the Reagan or Challenger
moments I’m mentioning in this segment would be included, though
both qualify as dramatic and highly significant.
that end, we also need to understand that many moments are also
deeply personal. And while they may contain the greatest of meaning
for you, that does not automatically create a universal moment.
example? There are people out there that can tell you how amazing
it was when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. That
said, my guess is that there are more people that would be stunned
to find out the Buccaneers have played in a Super Bowl than the
number being able to claim the team winning a title as a date
etched forever in their memories.
Number Two – Roughly as each new universal moment occurs, memories
of another fade away.
one is a bit more difficult to explain, but essentially it builds
upon corollary number one and means that as a generation that
lived during one event pass away so does the widespread significance
of that moment.
generation of my grandparents fought in World War II. While I
was growing up, the dates involving Normandy, Pearl Harbor, and
the Kennedy Assassination were dates you knew.
grandparents knew them.
parents knew them.
to the expanded editions sent out on Sunday mornings, I can remember
as a child every year in early December settling in to look over
the newspaper coverage detailing the history of Pearl Harbor.
Those mornings of mine took place about thirty years after the
In 2020? The day lives in infamy, but not so much in memory. Even
with my being aware of it and looking for mention of it, in recent
years I’ve found the day has passed without my coming across any
will admit that I have placed several items onto the stage for
this essay. Looks a bit haphazard as well. But I want you to think,
and truly consider what is happening right now locally, regionally,
nationally and internationally…
significantly are things going to change?
yes… there are going to massive differences around us. Some of
them will be temporary. Some will be permanent. And all sorts
of new things we never anticipated will be created and implemented
and become part of our daily lives as well.
in the acts of defiance and violence that are taking place… in
the words of stupidity and caution that are being expressed… we
see in many ways that things do not end well. Good or bad, almost
irrelevant, endings are not drawn out as happily ever after.
the cries for normalcy… seeds of things that haven’t changed.
the passage of time… failures to appreciate what has happened
said this previously, but it likely needs repeating… there is
no such thing as normal. It’s a perception… an interpretation…
an understanding of time and place based on an individual and
how they bring everything together for their own life.
something to be said for comfort food. For snuggling under a blanket
with a good book. For our grandmother’s house. For all the things
that make us feel good and safe. That’s what we look toward for
I think that’s close to what all of us are thinking. We don’t
want to get back to normal… at least not for what any stretch
of normal can be… we want to get back to comfort. Our comfort.
We want our routines back. We want our family and friends back.
We want, in an attempt at a two-word definition, our
that, in turn, somewhat quietly brings me back to the initial
ideas that clanged around in my head until they ultimately inspired
in general don’t change. They look for endings from their own
personal perspectives and not from any alternative viewpoint that
might bring about better understanding and compassion. And over
time, they move on, leaving behind the emotions and lessons of
want to believe that tomorrow is going to be better than today.
I want to believe in happily ever after. I want to believe we
can all treat each other with patience, compassion and kindness.
I want… well…
happened on June 6, 1944? …on December 7, 1941? …on November 22,
you knew the answers before reading any of this essay, good for
you. If you knew the answers because reading this essay reminded
you, thanks for paying attention. If you read this essay and still
aren’t sure, I rest my case.