I confess to being a child of the Sixties. I know what it is like to dream big. I remember innocence, a time when I thought I could change the world. While a college student in San Francisco, I danced to the Grateful Dead in Golden Gate Park and the Doors at the Fillmore West. When my friends left for Vietnam and did not return, I marched with others to end the war. I carried a flower, offered a song, and followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Then the world turned upside down with three assassinations: President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The streets became angry with lost dreams.
More than fifty years have passed, and we are again facing a pivotal cultural shift. Some march with a cry for racial justice, others riot for unclear ideological ends. Buildings burn, businesses are destroyed, innocents are injured and some die. City streets are violently angry, but I’m not sure why.
When I was in my twenties, I stopped hoping. I had seen too much, felt even more. For years, I ignored Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley, because I didn’t trust what they had to say. As a student of psychology and an eventual counselor, I did a lot of soul searching. There were mountains to climb, rivers to cross and oceans to maneuver. I was not well-equipped to do any of these, but I tried.
Rather than hopelessness, I feel helplessness these days. Not because of an ill-fated war or racism, rather because I realize that there is nothing I can do to turn the tide on senseless violence. I’m not an elected official. I’m not part of the Police Force or the National Guard. I’m just one of the many who shudders in disbelief at what I see in the streets, one of many who aches for those who have lost their livelihoods, one of the many who cries with the injured and all those who have lost loved ones. Yes, I am one of the quiet many who simply pray for peace.
More than fifty years have passed since I was in my twenties. I remember the flower I carried and the songs I sang. Now I look at my three sons and daughter and wonder where the time has gone. I'm grateful for each of them. As well, I'm grateful for my beautiful grandchildren. Together they remind me with their hugs and kisses that someday, yes someday, peace will reign. ♥