Two roads. . .
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
History repeats itself and our age is no different than other times when humanity has had to reset itself. We leave behind cherished ways of thinking, about how things “should” be done and find ourselves walking on a different path. Right now our country is facing racial unrest not seen since the 1960s Civil Rights movement; unemployment greater than the Great Depression of the 1930s; and a pandemic that equals that of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. It is not surprising we find ourselves stressed, restless, and lacking in that basic necessity of human survival — hope.
These issues before us are not easily managed and the world looks for leadership to show us a way to begin rebuilding some measure of what we feel we have lost. There is a long held belief that the world is always getting better, that life is improving in living standards, in length of life, again in that hope that life will be better for our children, for the generations who will follow us. That makes us vulnerable and our vulnerability makes us fair game for those who would divide us and manipulate our fears thus turning us against those of a different color, gender, economic class or part of the world. That manipulation is most often for personal gain as we have seen the disparity in our own country with the loss of the middle class and the financial power settling in just a few pockets.
Life is not easy and there are many voices that would pull us into other camps that breed dissatisfaction, and, yes hatred. Great thinkers for centuries have talked about a world where all people could work together for the common good and promote peace among the nations. Our own Constitution, a dream our founders thought had been realized with the settlement of this vast continent — to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility and promote the common welfare — has always been on display as a great and noble experiment. But the experiment is still in a trial stage and not looking too promising at this moment.
Jesus gave us two commandments to live by — just two — love God with everything in you and love your neighbor. The Great Teacher said everything hangs on these two rules. It is really that hard and that simple.
Poet Robert Frost wrote,
I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.