Was I forty years too late when I finally got to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, when my wife and I went out there to celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and attend the annual ETS conference a week or so ago? Well, the providence of God is never too late!
Probably glad in some ways not to have gotten there at the height of those tumultuous years of the counter-culture (which is now mainstream!). It was fascinating to do San Francisco—including Haight-Ashbury, though to be honest, it was somewhat grungy. I guess I expected something like current-day Yorkville in Toronto, which I did do in the height of the sixties.
But experiencing Haight-Ashbury reminded me of the heartbeat/aching void of my generation, well summed up by the song popularized by San Francisco psychedelic rocker Grace Slick (though the song was actually written by her brother-in-law Darby Slick):
“When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies
“Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love.”
A good part of the truths that the mainstream culture of the 1960s pushed were indeed lies, sure to dry up all of the wellsprings of joy. But the truths of my generation, the counter-culture, were not a deep enough corrective. Like the culture they were protesting against, they simply did not go deep enough. What an indictment on a generation that was rooted in interiority. But there was the need of a Guide to navigate the depths of the human heart. And hey: in Jesus, Lord and Christ, I found that Guide and that Somebody Grace Slick urged me to find to love–and His love has proven to be the Sweetest of Joys and the Truth!