MOMENTS FOR UNDERSTANDING: TO GEORGE FROM AUNT ANNIE

Narrative #18

WHAT TIME IS IT?

Proudly we sing the STAR SPANGLED BANNER, written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key. We begin:
“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light…….”
Look around you. What do you see? Then keep on singing to the last line of the song:
…”land of the free, home of the brave.”
Are we there yet? Two hundred years later, now in the 21st century, are we free and united?
Are we brave enough to do whatever we must do to protect ourselves and others from the enemies
of our democracy…even the enemies within…that separate us and the violence which is destroying us?
Can you see? What we see is what we call our vision. Some of us are near-sighted; some are far-sighted.
Some see “by the dawn’s early light” that is dim and sometimes blurred. Others see in a brilliant LIGHT
that shines from dawn to dusk, and far into the future. The Bible tells us that young men will see visions;
old men will dream dreams. The alarm has sounded! So, what time is it?

The WORD that guides this writing and my thinking : II Corinthians, 6:1-13 (King James Version)
Paul wrote: “Now is the accepted time.”
What follows in the scriptures, though written about two thousand years ago, sounds as if it were written a
few weeks ago. The hardships, afflictions, and natural disasters are present-day “perplexities to all nations.”
So, what time is it? It is wake-up time. We have a time for sleeping and a time for dreaming. Now is the time
to wake-up and make our dreams come true…..to see what surrounds or confronts us…..to work hard, to work
smart with knowledge and wisdom of young and old.

Knowledge is different from wisdom. Wisdom helps us to discern our individual purposes in life; and to perceive
our personal gifts, so we can fulfill those purposes for the good of all. Blindness and indifference (not caring) are
dangerous to our democracy. I think that some of us, as a people, are becoming spiritually, morally and intellectually
blind. We seem to be turning our gaze away from the deterioration of citizen responsibility. There seems to be
flagrant disregard for truth and for compassion for the needy among us. Too many of our children need food, schools
for their best development, a safe home and streets and loving parents to guide them. America must not tolerate
blindness to suffering and injustice. It is wake-up time! It is time to wake-up our hearts. I will go out on a limb and
declare the SOCIAL COHESION is our greatest and most pressing concern.

Washington Irving created a fictional character, Rip Van Winkle, who is known for how long he slept. We honor the
great Martin Luther King, Jr. for having had a dream. NOW is the time to wake-up and make our own dreams come true.
Procrastination will never move us into the future. We must seize the moment. This is our time and our responsibility
to repair our past mistakes,failures and broken relationships…or leave them behind us. All nations around the world
stand on the threshold for building and developing our future. Let us join our hands and join our hearts, socially
connected, working together.

We must understand that in America we are the people of the world…that was our original design. We can look back to
before 1492 when Christopher Columbus came to these shores. We stand on the shoulders of the NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS
who saw the three ships arrive. These were people with a civilization already in place and thriving. They were skilled builders
who knew and practiced ways to maximize efficient use of natural resources of this land and all it produced for food, clothing,
shelter and transportation. Settlers and explorers who came to America have contributed to the magnificent building of our
country with social cohesion….putting together and “gluing together” a number of different people to one united whole.
Looking back, we see that these people were plagued with disease (no hospitals) destruction from natural disasters that
were sudden (not forecast) while they were trying to adjust to different languages, religious and any number of
cultural/traditional practices. Diversity is as old as America is. Yet we have declared ourselves to be the “UNITED STATES
OF AMERICA.” America is a cohesive unit. We must never move away from our purpose and our promise, since 1776, to be
diverse and united people. We share our failures and our victories, as well. We have no standard and established measuring tools
for deciding which is which with scientific accuracy. So you decide. We engaged in a WAR ON POVERTY. Did we win?
We engaged in a WAR ON DRUGS. Did we win? We cannot assign blame or shame for slavery or the displacement of the
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS, the broken promises, the loss of land, or the violence and killing in some neighborhoods all over
our land. What we can do….we can do better NOW. We can make more efficient and effective use of our resources…land,
money and people.

What time is it? It is time for all American citizens to wake up, open your eyes wide and SEE (no matter what your history)
the way into the future. Only you and God know your purpose, your gifts, your dreams; so see all the possibilities and all
the opportunities that surround you. Recently, our country has experienced unusual natural disasters: tornadoes (Joplin)
hurricanes/earthquakes (Washington D. C., damaging the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral) wild fires (Colorado)
and the oil spill (Gulf States) or tsunami (Japan) both of which have impact around the globe and over a time span of a year.
Perhaps your opportunity will be to discover, manufacture or use a “green” product for a new process. Wake-up your heart to
peace and good will with one other person or a group. Every day is a day of opportunity…..opportunities come and go quickly;
seize the moment. There are numerous ways to lighten the burdens of victimized people, people suffering from disease, injustice,
and parents, unable to provide safe housing, food, or clothes for their children so they may go to school to learn and develop.
First you see, then you care, then you discover how to use your gift to move us all into the future.

Let us never forget that, for many of us, our dream is to add the icing on the cake…with a song, a poem, laughter, anything
beautiful, dance on a rainbow, or slam-dunk, so we may all enjoy this life. It is not about all work…it is, also, about LOVE
and JOY. It is with our hearts that we push past abuse, neglect, injustice, or any ordeal. Open a door of opportunity and
let the LIGHTshine in and shine on each one of us. Look upward; look forward to all that is yet to be uncovered and discovered.

Through social cohesion we can come together, work together and weave together (through our diversity) a stronger fabric for
America that can withstand the wear and tear of sustaining our democracy. The world needs everyone of us. Believe me:
We are more alike than we are different. We can put aside any differences that are becoming stumbling blocks to our progress;
and work (and have fun, sometimes) to move into our future united with a purpose.