Lately I have the feeling that the whole society is moving toward one gigantic tipping point and I’m not sure what to think about it. Under the surface of my rational thought is the sense that one small thing will occur—some decision, a little boy noting the emperor’s lack of wearing apparel, a weather event in a faraway place, an unnoticed medical discovery or a news article—and a whole series of other balanced decision points will quickly fall into place (or just fall). Dominoes or interconnected systems, these events will begin to move our society in a direction—one we could see only dimly. And in a short time, almost everything around us will be facing in another direction, moving us along in this new tide.
While this phenomenon may have always been a part of an interlocked world, right now it feels like the stakes are higher, like the number of the small things has multiplied. The well-being of high numbers of people could be threatened, the balance of power in our government thrown out of whack, new forms of oppression suddenly given authority or quiet vulnerabilities blossomed into full-fledged danger.
As I said, this is a feeling that’s hard to describe. Perhaps it’s something that occurs with age: Now I understand more fully how large-scale change rests on small-scale events. Perhaps I have grown more fearful or unaccepting of change. Maybe I feel that the world is shifting away from godly outcomes, or have trouble accepting that I have grown powerless in affecting societal change. I don’t know exactly what bothers me, but I am troubled.
Wise people around me are quick to note that tipping points work in the opposite direction, too. A large-scale pushback against disregard for women, people of color and folks who are poor has tilted the entire society back toward justice. The clay feet of arrogant leaders will soon erode—and the arrogance will be punished. A large cohort of voters is fed up with voter suppression. Insistent, courageous voices are being heard—and accepted. Healthy lifestyles are emerging as the default way to live. The Church offers satisfying purpose and meaning to young people. Greed and anger are destroying those who are greedy and angry. Our redemption—by God!—draws nearer.
I don’t know if your thoughts run in this direction, so I may be thinking the thoughts only of an older guy with too much time on his hands and a keyboard at his disposal. But if these somewhat hazy word-pictures strike you as familiar in your own soul, let me offer some hopeful observations to clear up this matter.
Because small events can cause large-scale change, any of us—perhaps especially older adults—could be the start of movements. Because we approach life with God’s will in mind, we’re grounded, secure—even assured. Because at this time in life we may have little to lose, we might more readily accept the challenge to begin to tip society. Because older adults form an increasing proportion of the population, our voices and actions are likely to attract attention and respect. Because we’re not done yet, we can travel these next years with strong commitments about the world turning back towards God’s intentions.
Even if am never quite able to gather together my tipping-point thoughts into a readable blog, I hope your own word-rich feelings in this matter will motivate you to take action!
God’s will WILL be done—on Earth as it is in Heaven!