For people of my generation, this past weekend (and even today) marked the 45th anniversary of the iconic three days of peace and music known as Woodstock. This Aquarian Exposition took place in White Lake, NY and has remained in memory for multitudes of young people (now much older) who considered the event a pivotal experience in their young lives.
Truth be told, I’m glad I wasn’t there. I was all the way across the continent, living in California, working as a vocalist with The Sound Generation, a music group representing John Brown University. (I’ve mentioned this experience in a previous post here.)
Without the nudges of main-stream news outlets, I’m guessing the vast majority of the population would never have noted the Woodstock anniversary. Like so many other events of that era, this one is considered iconic (mostly by news media types), symbolic of how the world began to change as a generation of make-love-not-war hippies celebrated their peace, love and music sit-in, lay-in, love-in, mud-in.
From time to time, my younger friends have asked wistfully, What was it like to live in the 60s? Their impression seems to be that this era was idyllic, a charmed age when our society almost grabbed hold of nirvana before being yanked back into tedious reality. Funny, I don’t remember it that way.
Here we are 45 years down the road from Woodstock and I’m asking what has changed? As I see it, very little. The middle east was in turmoil, exactly as it is today. Politics and government? Please don’t try to convince me it was different in the 60s and 70s from what we see today! Only the names have changed; new actors, same old lies. Friends I knew were fighting and dying in a far-off land, in those days it was Vietnam. Generally, our country was still groping its way through the murky waters of issues including race, civil rights and personal freedom.
What has changed?!
When I was living in California in 1969, I recall one night when I was jogging alone on the city streets near the Signal Hill school where we stayed. Several members of the group riding together drove by me and recognizing me, insisted I get in the car. They cautioned me because I was mostly unfamiliar with our location and its relative proximity to Compton and the Watts area where racial unrest in 1965 had escalated into race riots.
Looking at today, I’m reminded of my elderly mother’s proximity to the chaos occurring in Ferguson MO. Though she doesn’t live in Ferguson, my concern is only partially eased. She’s closer than I would like!
The sonnet today expresses some of my mental exhaustion acknowledging that even as the years of one’s life march forward, the status quo so often remains static … and the prospect of change (progress, some people call it) seems only a worthless, unfounded promise.
No matter how advanced humanity purports to be, sin doesn’t change. It remains entrenched, part of who and what we are. That’s what makes the world a place of terrible disillusionment. When I get down, it’s because I’m focused on the results of sin … it’s then I must move my eyes to the One who stands in the breach. None of what I see (in the world) perplexes my Lord Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 tells me: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” That’s good to know, because my weariness is overwhelming when my eyes are not on Him.