“Thoughts on the 50th Anniversary of the Loss of RFK”©
by Rev. Jim Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Could there have been a more simple time? Remember? Remember.
Well, there was the war. Never again would a war be so long, right? And the riots. And discrimination. And family conversations- some would say disputes, some would say outright shouting matches. Oh, and then there was the murder of students on their own campus. I guess we’ll have to remember that the use of nuclear weapons was a constant threat. Yes, it’s true many church leaders operated on the “pay, pray, and obey” maxim (although, I don’t remember one of them shilling for his very own 4th airplane.)
Remember when gays couldn’t do business with certain establishments – so long ago? When school funding went to accredited – and therefore, accountable – schools? When the Supreme Court forced a President to do something against what he had no intention of doing (release the tapes)?
Remember when guns’ bullets tore through our leaders’ bodies? When we were certain that we surely would do something about gun safety?
Remember when women were objectified and assaulted because men, who thought they were stars, were certain they would go unpunished?
Was it really only yesterday that hierarchy continually asserted itself with the imperious conviction of divine right?
Remember when being was a gift and each day an opportunity to make gentle the life of the world?
2018 continues to uncover 1968. Resurrect from RIP: Tom Merton, Martin Luther King, Bobby. How easily I go home again to my youth. One can go home again, you see. It’s just scary that time seemingly has not budged the needle of history.
It would be fine to go home again on those trails that head back if, in the doing of it, we could return also to that hoped for future to which we thought we were headed. That’s the future still worth hoping for. And, anyway, isn’t it funny how that future still resides in the past? It’s as if we are salmon in search of where we came from so that the future may finally be realized.
My friend Pat Monaghan, an Alaskan by birth and a Celtic treasure in her psyche and spirit, had this to say about salmon when she reflected on the similarities and the differences between the salmon of Alaska and Ireland. Pat writes in her book, “The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog,”
“Alaska’s salmon are a different species than Ireland’s, but they share a homing instinct that leads them from the salt ocean, where they lived amid whales and dolphins, back to the river mouth they exited as fry, to the exact spot they hatched years earlier, there to spawn, there to die. Who is wiser than one who knows the way home?”
All this memorializing of 1968 in 2018, all this confusedly recollecting what seems the same now as then, all our yearning for an eternal return, all of this may be unsettling. But we, you and I, have a homing instinct.
In the legal/political context it’s called the United States Constitution – the instrument we hope will save us at this inglorious time from falling over the precipice down which we see the depths of irreparable social and civic harm.
In the spiritual/church context it’s called Love, the blossom of our heart that puts into practice that universal golden rule: “Do to others what you would have done to you.”
Today, it seems, we require trust in our homing instinct. Remember, don’t forget. Remember when, so when we’re home we may be the wiser.
Wisdom Enough, with thanks to Patricia
The fish story that greed makes abundance possible may be true for one fish, O Giver of Wisdom.
The promise of milk and honey spreads across that land which generously shares from its bounty, O Source of Wisdom.
The security of home which loved ones build together from care and cooperation reveals your presence, O Fountain of Wisdom.
Let this be Wisdom Enough. So be it.