Chaos theory. String theory. Six degrees of separation. We moderns with silicon wafers for brains are rediscovering what earlier peoples knew in their DNA and always saw with hearts and minds. All things are related. Lakotas simply called it the great hoop that encompassed all of creation and all of life. That's why their mobile homes made of lodgepole pine and hides were always set in a circle. They lived in a hoop within the hoop.
Happy 40th anniversary of the Tet Offensive! That feels all wrong to say but somehow necessary. January 30-31, 1968. Tet Nguyen Dan, first morning of the first day of the lunar new year, changed all of life in South Vietnam and the world. Took a while, but it did. No doubt about it.
People in two colliding cars are directly affected by the crash. People who swerve to avoid the wreckage or stop to render aid are indirectly affected. People in houses a block away may be unaware that anything life changing has occurred. And yet somehow they are affected too, or will be. Time will show that. And God knows it.
I'm the youngest of four siblings. Events that began to unfold with the Tet Offensive 40 years ago shaped my life profoundly. Those events and the things that followed made me very different from my blood family. Do any mark this day? I doubt it. Do any go to Memorial Day or Veterans Day ceremonies and feel something more than a vague nudge of regret, American pride or "patriotism", whatever that is? Do any feel "victory", whatever that is? Do any still feel deep grief and profound anguish after all these years? Did they ever? Have any read or written anything because of it? I don't know. We live apart and don't talk about these things anymore. But they still matter. Time will show that. And God knows it.
Today I will e-mail Dick. Today I will attempt to reconnect with Jack. I will say, "Happy 40th" and let them go from there. For those of you whose lives seemed unaffected at the time, and for those not yet born back then I simply leave these words. They are the themes and struggles that resulted in a 2-hour play "The Walls of Jericho" ten years ago. Not all these questions have answers. And they don't cease to exist even if we fail to ask them. But they still matter. Time will show that. God knows it.
What's it mean to go to war?
And to get married?
What's it mean to lose someone?
What's it mean to come home?
What's it mean to farm?
What's it mean to lose your way?
Even faith itself?
What's it mean to be a Dad?
Or be a kid?
What's it mean to scream at the sky?
What's it mean to write a poem?
What's it mean to find a friend?
What's it mean to love? Again.
And how in the world can mountains heal?
What's it all mean?
Who built this wall anyway?
Copyright 1998 by Roger D. Fuchs. All rights reserved.
Happy anniversary, and welcome home to the hoop. Shalom!