April 16, 2013

One of those days that just makes you wonder what this world is coming to. Rather than indulge in specific thoughts about the actual even other than to say that my prayer candle this week burns for those killed and injured in the bombs set off at the Boston Marathon finish site, I have a few thoughts I was thinking about writing on last night while sipping the first Sam Summer Ale on the patio Sunday night.

There was a dusty breeze blowing out of the west causing the palm tree branches to rustle, the happy pineapple lights to rock gently, the ceiling fan to lazily turn counter-clockwise, and the reflection of the trees in the swimming pool to bounce with the roll of the water. The houses around us were all dark and quiet as folks got ready for another work week to start. No different, really, from any number of similar nights I’ve sat outside and enjoyed the warm night air, except tonight there was a certain restlessness caused by a combined sense of sadness and wonder at time passing by. I took a sip of the Sam and tried to get to the bottom of just exactly why I was feeling the way I was, and I thought back to a conversation my friend John and I had earlier that day after we had finished replacing the cracked slab of concrete that had sat under my old pool filter for the past sixteen years (more on that another time).

John and I were just sitting chewing the fat over some ice water and coffee as we admired our finished work when the subject of families came up. He’s around my age and, like me and our friend Jana, has seen some big changes in his family the past couple of years, losing his dad and now his mom who has been living with him since then has advanced Alzheimer’s and the hospice folks visiting on a regular basis. Since I’ve got my mom and a close cousin going through some significant health issues, I mentioned to John that the only thing this tells us is that our turn on the merry-go-round is right around the corner, and that this is God’s way of showing us still living on the green side of the grass just how precious life is.

And that was kind of what was going through my mind sitting under the pineapple lights listening to the night sounds as surf music played softly through the patio speakers. It’s almost like I’m going through a period of heightened awareness of just how important life is and the really, really simple enjoyment I’m getting out of the most ordinary kind of activities that at one time I used to blow through and/or underappreciate while I was busy making other plans. And underappreciate is the operative word, since I’ve never been someone who took for granted the beauty of God’s creation, the privilege of being given an ear for music, or having long-time friends to laugh and share life experiences with. It’s just that I’m a planner by nature – I’ve never been much for spontaneity, and in all that planning I’m sure I’ve allowed stuff to pass by without notice.

Not sure where I’m going with this except to say that, living in a world where you can’t even enjoy watching a freakin’ marathon race without risking yourself being blown to bits by some asshole with no respect for life and the wide range of emotions and experiences that life brings all by itself through joys, sadnesses, births, deaths, anxieties, peacefulness and restlessness, every moment counts and contains within it a certain blessedness that we just can’t allow to pass by unnoticed or, yes, underappreciated. Even if it’s just taking a wonderful sip of a cold beer on a warm desert southwest evening, watching TV with someone you love, mindlessly (or, in my case as I do now, purposefully) hitting a bucket of balls, taking a lazy walk around the neighborhood, or chatting with a friend or family member, it’s all blessed in its own way.

Which is why a while ago I wrote about supporting the death penalty even though my Catholic faith is all about the sanctity of life. My feeling then, as it is now, is that life itself, every facet of it, is sacred, and if you take someone’s life through an act of violence you’ve forfeited the sacredness of your own life. I mean, why can’t people just live and let live? I can truly say I don’t hate anyone – not even people I believe to be inherently evil like my sister-in-law’s second husband who abused her for so many years, or Barack Obama and his wife, who I truly believe are hell-bent on destroying this country. Life is too damned short and too precious to waste your time hating anyone or anything, it just involves too much negative energy. And I don’t, nor will ever, understand people who want to kill and maim and injure for some lark or social, political, or religious reason. I’m not including people who are mentally ill here, I’m talking about people like the terrorists who took down the Twin Towers and bombed the trains in Madrid, or the pathetic creeps who shot up the schools in Newtown and Columbine, and that movie theater in Colorado, or set off those explosive devices in Boston. (Which, BTW, is why the whole gun debate now is so ridiculous – the sad truth is there are people who are hell-bent on killing innocent people like you and me for no freakin’ reason than to just do it. I mean, there’s just no way to eliminate risk in a free and open society.

Which I guess brings me back to the patio, the Sam Summer, the lights, the palm tree branches, the breeze, the pool, and the ceiling fan under the stars and a waxing quarter moon. It was just a moment where I felt so very much alive and so very conscious of how precious, tenuous, and short life is. I’m not special nor a world-changer in any way. Perhaps precious in God’s and my parents’ eyes, but just an ordinary bloke in the grand scheme of things. And yet, even in my own ordinariness, I felt the keenest sense of that moment where everything around you seems precious because it can all be taken away from you in the blink of an eye, for any variety of reasons, under any form of circumstances.

Not sure if this all makes sense. But’s a post anyways. Now back to our regular programming.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. An organized mind finds it incomprehensible to understand a disorganized, deranged mind bent on death and destruction. Often it is hardwired in their DNA and when an opportunity presents itself, the thoughts become actions. Often these acts of terror are their belief system and they will comply and even die for this belief….teachings, brainwashing and a predilection for killing dominate these individual’s acts. They are among us, looking and acting “normal” until “it is time”. Serial killers, mass murderers, arsonists are all part of this group who share this deranged type of thinking. They often lack conscience, emotion and do not differentiate between right and wrong. It is just what they do.

    Comment by Jana — April 16, 2013 @ 8:05 am

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