From Zach Dietrich
This is a great article Zach sent me:
We have so much more than mom and dad that we can’t help but feel defensive about feeling so bad, and paying off our charge cards so late, and being found in the den surfing from channel to channel at 3 a.m., staring back at Brian Lamb’s eyes.
And there’s this: We know that we suffer—and we get no credit for it! Sometimes we feel the bitterness of the generation that fought World War I, but we cannot write our memoirs and say “good-bye to all that,” cannot tell stories of how our boots rotted in the mud, cannot deflect the neighborhood praise and be modest as we lean against the bar. They don’t know we’re brave. They don’t know we fight in trenches too.
I find myself thinking of Auden’s words about the average man in 1939, as darkness gathered over Europe—the “sensual man-in-the-street,” barely aware of his emptiness, who promised that he will be “true to the wife,” that some day he will be happy and good.
Auden called his era the “age of anxiety.” I think what was at the heart of the dread in those days, just a few years into modern times, was that we could tell we were beginning to lose God—banishing him from the scene, from our consciousness, losing the assumption that he was part of the daily drama, or its maker. And it is a terrible thing when people lose God. Life is difficult and people are afraid, and to be without God is to lose man’s great source of consolation and coherence. There is a phrase I once heard or made up that I think of when I think about what people with deep faith must get from God: the love that assuages all.
I don’t think it is unconnected to the boomers’ predicament that as a country we were losing God just as they were being born.
At the same time, a huge revolution in human expectation was beginning to shape our lives, the salient feature of which is the expectation of happiness.