All Is Not Lost (tf)

It’s a new year as I write these words, sitting on my couch between college bowl games. I’ve been alternating between cheering and dozing, which is usually what happens when you insist on watching football while laying down in front of a warm fire. The house is quiet. The neighborhood is quiet. New Year’s Day is for recovery as much as it’s for reflection after all. Silence is never more golden than it is today.

But reflect we must, for that’s what word hungry people do. In so many ways 2010 was a dreadful year, one that I would have kicked in the tail to move along if such a thing was possible. In its first quarter I lost my father to Alzheimer’s disease, which he fought tenaciously for years. My father raged against injustice quietly his entire life, and it’s certainly no surprise that he didn’t succumb meekly to an injustice inflicted on himself. But the fight was terrifying to watch at times, and I’m not ashamed to say I wished he wasn’t so strong-willed. And of course Alzheimer’s permits no happy endings. My year was dominated by his passing, and so for me 2010 will always have a big black mark next to it. I’m glad it’s over. It belongs in a dustbin.

But then again. I watched my children grow wiser and even more beautiful. I’m still able to provide for them. A solid roof, comfortable beds, warm blankets. Life’s essentials, and a few extras. Like most, my largest possessions are owned by various banks, but I’m fortunate to still have income enough to keep such things in my name. There are many who cannot say the same in this cursed economy.

For me, distant wars are just that. Distant. Rare do these conflicts even make the back pages anymore, and I’m not immune to the malaise this courts. My children are not in Iraq or Afghanistan. My worries are more mundane. Getting them to practice. Paying for their education. What of parents who must concern themselves with mujahideen fighters? Snipers? IED’s? Their children barely older than my own? I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to feel about this. Lucky? That’s not appropriate. Grateful? That  doesn’t seem the right word either, as it might imply a certain privilege. I wish our nation did not ask such sacrifices of its young. Surely it’s not fair. That we can all agree on.

In 2011 may all come home.

I make no resolutions for a new year. A new year means 364 days to procrastinate, which may be my greatest talent, so promises to exercise more or eat more green things do not stand a chance in my world, in which tomorrow always seems more suitable for effort than today. I try merely to be inoffensive in my dealings with others, which sounds simple enough but on bad days can be harder than eating spinach. If we all tried it (being inoffensive, not eating spinach) the world would undoubtedly be a gentler place.

Come to think of it. The most inoffensive man I ever knew was my father. I know of no one he ever aggrieved in any way. Losing him gave 2010 its rough edges. Maybe in 2011 my anger will cool, and all will be more gentle in a world too frequently seemingly consumed with rage.

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on January 1, 2011.

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