HISTORY: Blessings of the Great Mystery


Do you guys remember 1492? When Columbus sailed the ocean blue and all that and discovered America? Maybe you dozed off a little because the classroom was nice and warm and you’d just had tater tots in the lunchroom and a fly was droning around pleasantly. When you startled yourself awake the teacher was talking about the pilgrims, you got a little mixed up and got ahold of an idea that Columbus drove the Mayflower over and wore one of those pointy hats and had big buckles on his shoes.

Something like that. I know memories can be tricky –
how they can be affected by things that we learn later on in life –
but I swear I can remember wondering during that lesson about this:
If Columbus discovered America, then how
was it possible that there were already
a whole bunch of people here to welcome them? Right?


Well now I’m all grown up and that still seems like a valid point. A lot of other people must’ve felt the same way, since poor Columbus has gotten a lot of flak over these last twenty or thirty years. I’ve also discovered this other thing too, with advancing age that is: the older I get, the less black and white things are, and the more I see these thousands, even millions, of different shades of gray to all the issues that once seemed so open and shut. This is one of those things that I think about: here’s this thing we call ‘social media’ for instance – Facebook, to be specific, since I’ve been forbidden by my children to fool around with Snapchat and all that other stuff. Facebook, along with whatever else it is, is this place where people of all ages and colors and genders and beliefs are all mixed up together, and you get this unique opportunity to see how all these different people are feeling about the same issues. (Oh, and believe me, it’s not always a positive experience as you’ll quickly realize when you get that friend request from a guy you haven’t seen since high school and you’re like ‘Jerry! I wonder what that old so-and-so is up to these days.’ Then you find out it’s a far better thing to just content yourself with fond memories of ol’ Jer razzing the cafeteria lady instead of reconnecting with him now that he’s a camera-happy nudist and a zealous Amway rep.) Social media is just this really good place to observe people, like my sister and I used to do at the food court at North Star Mall, only on Facebook you get to observe the workings of their minds, in a way, and one thing you notice is how adamant people are! They’re always so positive that there’s only one absolutely, irrefutably correct stance on any given issue and simply no other way of looking at the thing – and that just isn’t true. The world really doesn’t work like that, where there’s one right answer and one wrong one, where one group of people are all saints and the other side is completely evil. I mean, you’re not going to come across a lot of people who say, ‘Eh, well, Hitler did have his good points too’, but most people and most situations are more complicated than just good vs. evil, you know?