Cheap Seats 2021
The Fraidiest Generation
By Rich Trzupek
If 2020 proved anything, it’s that America is now, more than ever, a nation driven by fear. Not by ambition. Not by principle. Certainly not by belief in God. It’s all about fear.
It was inevitable. When people abandon God, when they decide that earthly, corporeal existence is the only experience a person will ever know, that life is an accident that ends in darkness, then people tend to cling to their earthly existence in ways that does them, or humanity as a whole, no credit.
A believer says: “Yes I am going to die someday, but I believe that death is a transformation to another type of existence. So, while I value this gift of earthly existence, its continuation is not its ultimate purpose.”
It is no coincidence that previous generations of Americans, whose life expectancies were much shorter than ours, were willing to take risks that few of us would today. Perversely, as the possibility to live longer increases, people cling to life more and more tightly – especially if they choose to ignore the existence of a Creator.
Our ancestors explored the wilderness, full of wild beasts and a native population that included some particularly savage tribes. They faced new diseases and extreme weather. Life could be brutal and short. But, they persevered. They built this remarkable nation. They were determined to accomplish something during their lifetimes, no matter the risk.
And us? Twenty-first century America is overflowing with fear. We now have people spending their lives – literally – cowering in their homes, refusing to have any human contact. Some justify this behavior as supposedly being selfless. It’s their “obligation” to protect their fellow citizens by remaining isolated. Hell, we just elected a president who spent the majority of his campaign hiding in his basement.
I say this to the Fraidiest Generation: Life is to precious a gift to be thrown away in complete self-absorbance. Jesus’ Parable of the Talents speaks to just this point:
A man goes on a journey and gives his servants different amounts of talents (a form of currency). Then he comes back, he finds two of the servants put their money to work, doubling their investment. But the third buries his money in the ground to keep it safe, then returns it to his master, whom is less than pleased. From Matthew’s gospel:
His master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The lesson here is not about finding a strong performing mutual fund. It’s about not wasting the gifts you have been given: Your particular skills and most of all your life. You’ve been given life for living, not for protecting.
For me, that means that while I wear the stupid mask and social distance when I can, I will not hide. I am and have been traveling, including air travel. I am and have been visiting clients and going to the factories who depend on me to keep EPA off their back. I’ve yet to contract COVID-19 and hope I am not so afflicted. If I do catch it, I know the chances of it killing me – while a non-zero number – is small. Life is for living and living means facing risks, not letting risks define your existence.