The Catch has a friend; his name is Alex, and he is 25 years old. That makes him an official millennial. We consult with him about the Internet, and he teaches us a lot about his generation.
First off, he is brilliant. He understands and speaks three languages (English, Chinese and Spanish) fluently. He may have more languages under his belt; we’ve just never asked. His mind is constantly traveling at a high rate of speed and he is very culturally and politically conscious. He considers himself a left-wing Republican. (That sounds refreshing.) He’s seriously thinking about running for office, starting with governor of California someday, and he would do that not to be popular or famous, but because he cares about this country and the world, and feels he can make a contribution. We don’t doubt that he could. He works with his father in Internet security, which means he understands hackers because he understands how to hack. He was aware of the Russians’ propensity to hack our systems long before we ever heard about it. His mind is wired to the Internet in a way mine will never be, because he was born into this cyber world and he moves in it fluidly.
Alex absolutely adores his parents (you should see his eyes light up when he talks about them), but he feels a huge distance from them at the same time. That breaks his heart. His mother is trapped in alcoholism and beyond his reach. He broke down and cried when he talked about her yesterday. He also cried over his Hispanic neighbors because he feels their pain and fear of deportation. He lives in the poorer section of Santa Ana by choice because he does not want to isolate himself from the harsher realities of existence, and he cried when he talked about the future of planet earth. (I immediately thought about Paul in Romans 8 where he states that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now, even as we groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.) Alex doesn’t just look into an issue, he steps into it; he wants to experience it on all sides. This is also why he doesn’t get drunk or use drugs — not for some moral reason, but because he doesn’t want to shield himself from pain or further remove himself from the emotions of life. All of this has made for a sensitive man, and I must say, I think his choices have been good ones. He cares. And if he is any indication of his generation (and I believed he is) there is hope for our future.
I think there is something for all of us to learn in at least what Alex has taught me. In this difficult time of warring and political posturing, remember this: Pardon the politics; feel the pain.