The passing years never stop. I remember when I was in college, readingAlan Watts’ description of life as a river flowing, flowing always flowing.His description matches reality and it is a reality that I experience more fullyas I grow older. Nothing stops the flow of life. Not war or volcanoes or earthquakes. Noteven death. The dead (be they trees, insects or people) decompose and become the substance out of which new life sprouts and grows.Despite life’s ceaseless current, there are times when we really wanteverything to just come to a stop for a while. There are times when wesimply need to pause and catch our emotional breath.When something huge happens … like the shooting at the Tucson shoppingmall, or the assassination of a president, the moon landing, or the amazingrescue of those Chilean miners trapped under ground for more than twomonths. At times like that, I want everything to stop, to stand still at least for a while. How can life continue streaming when such tremendously importantexperiences disrupt our hearts and souls? But the flow never stops, does it.The evening and the morning forms the next day. And then the next and thenext and the next.And soon we’re months or years or decades farther down the river and we’reall still gliding along in the rich and endless flow.Maybe that’s what memory is for – to give us that moment’s reflective pause.Last Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, the TV show “CBS Sunday Morning” presenteda piece on John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. The piece ran because it was 50years ago this month that JFK became our nation’s 35
president. The program said seven out of 10 Americans alive today were not even bornwhen Kennedy took the oath of office. To them, such a retrospective shownin crisp black-and-white film footage, is history.