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True Dawn

By Stephanie Allen Crist; originally published on the blog Embracing Chaos.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a time to look back, and remember those who have sacrificed to make this country a place to be free. Instead, I look ahead and ask myself if it is freedom that I see.

There’s something on the edge of thought—a feeling to be written of that isn’t quite ready to come out, not quite ready to be exposed. Frustration is there, and so is disappointment. All swirled together with a steady, flat kind of hope.

The future. What does it hold for my children?

I stare ahead, and it stares back at me, with its blurry lines and undefined shape. I don’t know what it is I see. I have hope that it will be good, but it’s more of a “good enough” than a “what my children deserve.” I look ahead, and I see frustrations and disappointments, like obstacles and obstructions, obscuring my view. The hope weaves through them, or around them, or over them. But they’re there.

I have hope that I can make a good life for my children, and I have hope that they will, in time, be able to make a good life for themselves. I know they will face frustrations and disappointments. I can accept both the hope and the obstacles.

Yet, there’s still something unsettling about that which I almost see. It’s like the gray cast of a false dawn, spread across the sky to the horizon. I don’t know what it is I see. I look, I try, but still… It leaves me unsettled. Not because of the ignorance. We never really know what the future holds. No, the dissonance is something else. It’s the false dawn, the grayness and the smears of washed-out colors.

The world is not ready to allow us our freedom. That is what I see. Despite all those who have sacrificed to leave freedom for their descendants to inherit, the world is not ready for us to have it. But we will not wait.

We are stepping into the future one day at a time. And there will be a place for my children. A good place, though only “good enough.” There will be places for others like my children, both children and adults. Many, including myself, are working hard for those places. But that gray sky, those smeared colors…all our work is not going to be enough. When those of us who are raising children now have adult children, in the stead of our little ones, there will still be work to do, for us and for them. Because the world isn’t ready for us. Even if their places are “good enough,” they will not be “what our children deserve,” and there will always be others whose places are not even “good enough.”

Perhaps that is the way it will always be—that false dawn, the constant demand for improvement and progress, not just in technology, but in how human we regard each other and what that means to us. But, then I think, the dawn—the true dawn—must come. It always does.

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