I read a quotation from Steven Charleston saying we’re living in “the time of the great turning.” He said we’re in a “hinge-generation,” a historical period of deep change.
Initially I agreed. But then I realized that could be said for many periods in a single lifetime — my own. I was born during the Great Depression, a young child during World War II, and a young mother in 1968 when the U.S. almost destroyed itself over Viet Nam. Women’s liberation, the Civil Rights struggle… all could rightfully be called “times of turning.”
Our lives in the past two years have been dominated by world-wide pandemics and climate change, not to mention fraught international armed struggles and our home-grown threats to democracy. These have brought enormous changes in our corporate life – most unforeseen ten years ago.
I wonder, has there ever been a generation that did not live in a period of deep change?
We can’t always predict the future. So the question is, how do we order our lives to create positive change for our children, knowing that they will have to contend with crises of their own?
There may be a better answer. But the best I can do is to live each day mindful that the small steps I take today can have a profound effect on the future. Tiny things, like masking up to save a life or stop the spread. Telling the truth even when it hurts or embarrasses me. Using glass instead of plastic. Recycling. Careful use of water. Giving away what I don’t need, including extra money. Voting as if it mattered.
My late husband Jerry wore a t-shirt that read: “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless mercy.” In such a time as this, that may be the best we can do.
If enough of us do it, we might save the planet. It can’t hurt, and it might really make a difference.