A Generation Without Vision
Pain and heat seared my eyes, while the kids screamed at my feet. I rushed to the hospital, both for myself and for my son who had also been hit in the eyes. It was a freak cooking accident. As the pain subsided, feelings of guilt and discouragement washed over me. I also wondered, Why both of our eyes? However, the doctor’s words are what will be seared into my mind more permanently than the scars we endured:
“You are extremely lucky. I’m not sure how this happened, but both of you will not have permanent damage to your eyes or vision. With second degree burns around the eye area, this is nothing short of a miracle.”
For days, I couldn’t get the fact out of my mind that our vision could have been permanently damaged. Two days later, I came across a passage in Proverbs (29:18): ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I couldn’t help but take note, considering what had just happened, and it occurred to me, we are living in a generation without a vision.
We take it for granted, but vision is so vital. Without it, we must be led around by someone who has it, or else simply cease being functional and eventually die.
As a generation without vision, we walk aimlessly along the paths of our lives and lead our societies towards a future we cannot see. Whether it be people fighting for social justice, those pursuing an end to conflict, or people of faith committed to bringing God to a hurting world, we are all struggling to hold on to vision and instead we let it slip between our fingertips, shattering to pieces at the feet of the next generation, who will soon have to put the pieces back together for us.
Many of us are giving up working towards a just future in our land, saying, “Well, we tried and it’s not working; there is no change.” Because of our lack of vision, we simply build more walls and create more policies that hedge us in and suffocate us all, completely sacrificing the future of all of our children in order to contain our current fear.
We have scoffed at the courage to see beyond; laughed at any possibility to have a dream not drenched in hate. Any thought about a future in which we no longer sacrifice our humanity on the backs of the next generation in the name of “security” is quickly erased.
In our congregations and places of worship, my generation leaves en masse, finding little consolation or hope in the places that are supposed to represent a God of love, peace and joy.
“What vision is offered?” we complain, as we search for a place in which we can work towards God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The vision many embrace is relegated to futuristic prophecies and spiritual paradigms that seem far removed from the daily struggles of our lives, especially in the Middle East. It is destructive and largely irrelevant, and so we simply give in or give up.
It’s not just our leaders’ fault, though. We are a generation that has forgotten that we can be agents of change. Where is our vision for the future? Why not in us?
It takes courage to begin to dream because we can, and will, be disappointed. It takes strength to stand up and begin to have vision. Throughout time, history makers, were always the ones who encountered failure and discouragement but refused to be broken, refused to give up.
The truth is, we lack vision because we have allowed fear and cynicism to rob us of it and we have forgotten about a God who dreams far bigger and far more elaborately than we do. We have been paralyzed by disappointments; consequently, we simply maintain the status quo everywhere we go, and the numbers working towards change grow smaller each year.
Yet, we have never lived in a better time for breaking the conventions of the past, for challenging the current situation that’s been handed us. If we don’t do it, the next generation will. However, if we simply leave vision to them, they will resent us for waiting helplessly to be led around, when we could have prevented the sickness that was spreading and stealing our vision, and yet we did nothing.
Change will happen, perhaps without us seeing it at first, until the pivotal moment when all the invisible work of the dreamers that went on for years culminates in a visible, tangible shift. Walls fall, occupations end, churches and denominations are reformed, and hearts and lives are transformed by dedicated, enduring love.
My vision is that we will be the dreamers who hand over a new reality; the ones the next generation admires for working tirelessly despite resistance, despite discouragement; that we will be the history makers who refuse to let our vision be stolen.