Attitude

1968: The Dawning of the Age of Wisdom and Grace

1968 was deemed  the beginning of the ‘Age of Aquarius’ by some, but honestly, it was a tough year.

I was an awkward preteen, not turning 13 until December. In San Antonio, we held the World’s Fair, Hemisfair 68, from April 6 to October 6.

The day I’ll never forget was June 6.

It marks the anniversary of the assassination of Robert Frances Kennedy. He was tragically killed not even five years after the assassination of his brother President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy, a candidate for President was shot three times—once in the head and twice in the back—with a fourth bullet passing through his jacket.

That night I followed live news from the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and across the nation with coverage on my transistor radio until sunlight the next morning. Reports indicated his condition was not good. He died almost 26 hours later at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Often referred in newspapers and media as RFK, I guessed it was because they did the same with his brother, JFK.

When JFK was elected, RFK (also known as Bobby) became the 64th United States Attorney General.

He served from January 1961 to September 1964, and as a U.S. Senator from New York from January 1965 until his death.

Martin Luther King Jr.

RFK left a strong impression just two months before when another leader referred by his initials, MLK, was assassinated.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot from a distance standing out a hotel room balcony in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The country was disillusioned. Millions were angry.

Bobby Kennedy was in Indianapolis to speak to crowd of mostly African-Americans, most who had not heard of Dr. Kings death.

A burden fell upon Kennedy to share the tragic news. He appealed for calm by acknowledging not only their pain, but his own abiding grief over the murder of his brother.

Bobby Kennedy looked down and solemnly quoted a variation of an ancient poem by Aeschylus (526-456 BC):

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom from the awful grace of God.”

“Wisdom through the awful grace of God” is a remarkable and meaningful statement.

It means God’s grace fills us with awe and gives us the opportunity to grow in wisdom during life’s most difficult moments.

That August, of 1968, was the most horrific of my life. I witnessed a beating and someone I love placed a gun to my head. Before he could cock it, under horrific duress, I had the instinct, or the “wisdom” to kneel and pray.

God answered my prayer.

Later, when I talked with Pastor Randall of Bellaire Baptist Church in his home, he shared James 1:1-8 with me. The verse I keep dear to my heart is this:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James says that this wisdom is grown in the soil of hardship. We not only learn from wisdom of God, we can rest–Be Still–in the grace of God.

Robert Kennedy at gravesite of his brother John F. Kennedy.

2 replies »

  1. I was sitting on the floor of my dorm room working on an art project when the news of the shooting of RFK’s was announced. It was horrible coming right behind the murder of Martin Luther King. I can’t begin to imagine what happened to you that August, 1968, but thank God, you did not let it define you.
    Warmest regards.
    Joyce Morris

    Liked by 1 person

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