Senior Class

There’s nothing quite like your Senior Year, is there? Whether it’s in high school or in college, there is a status that goes with being a senior. You have finally arrived, reached the plateau, climbed to the summit.

My senior year in high school was in Tucson, Arizona in 1970-1971. I could finally walk on the official school seal that year without fear of repercussions. After all, I was a senior. There were privileges to be had.

Of course, by the time I reached my senior year I came to understand that there weren’t as many privileges as there had appeared to be in the years leading up to that one; sort of like there was a senior mirage visible only to underclassmen.

You see, my junior year had been filled with an anticipation that was hard to contain; I was about to reach the apex, the ultimate freedom. But when I actually got there, there were harder classes to take, plans for the future had to be defined and pursued, and my responsibility meter was expected to be in rare form.

Not all that long ago I reached another plateau in my life. Another senior year (if you will). This more recent status gives me small discounts at Kroger on Wednesdays, cheaper coffee at certain restaurants, and less expensive tickets at the movie theater.

But now it’s not a senior year; rather, it is called senior years (plural). And there are privileges to be had. A few, anyway.

People who I think are about my age call me “Sir” often. And sometimes I am passed by when someone is in need of some “heavy lifting” (you see, they scan the audience of persons in front of them, look right past me, and secure the services of someone who can’t be more than 10 . . . well, maybe 20 . . . aw heck, probably 30 to 40 years younger than me).

You see, I am in The Senior Class. And there are privileges to be had, right?

At least, that’s the picture I had . . . the way it appeared to me . . . . Hey! Don’t tell me that was another senior mirage!

Like it or not, privileged or not, I am a part of the senior class. And with that status comes (you guessed it) responsibility.

How many times have you gone into a bank, post office, doctor’s office, grocery store, department store, convenience store, coffee shop, restaurant, or any public place and witnessed seniors angry about the service there? It’s almost as if there was a memo sent to all senior citizens, instructing them to be bitchy (pardon my French; actually its roots are in English and Old Norse, etc.) on any given day.

“Old people,” it is often said, “are just grumps.” And sometimes this is due to the fact that they no longer can see very well, hear very well, move about very well, recall the right words to say, or even think very clearly. That is enough to make anyone grumpy.

On the other hand, it is sometimes due to the fact that seniors . . . (bear with me now) . . . have no class.

At a time in life when one should be able to bring decades of experience (both good and bad) to the table, the benefits of both success and failure in life, the seasoned precision, reliability, and wisdom of a class act both tested and proven in the smelter of living – there is often nothing to show but a bitter, frustrated, impatient and demanding old senior.

I do not want to be part of such a senior class.

“With privilege comes responsibility,” it has been said.

I open doors for seniors (and others, too), because I think it is appropriate to honor our elders, and also because sometimes older folks are too weak to do this for themselves. When my mother became feeble and I had to care for her, helping her in and out of her wheelchair, etc., I became more aware of older folks and their struggle to do the simple things I take for granted.

Now, every time I see someone helping an elderly person into or out of a car, or into or out of a wheelchair – I think of my mother. And I respect them for helping.

This is all right and good. And I hope our society never loses this sensitivity and respect for those who are weaker, or older (however, I do see this eroding).

But doggone it! It is also right and good for the senior class to lead the way: exemplifying respect for others, patience in adversity, a cool head in the midst of turmoil, and high character in the face of corruption and scandal.

As a senior, you are responsible. You realize that the mirage of privilege is just an illusion.

And you approach the challenges of the current day with what could rightfully be called “senior class.

Because you have not finished!

Commencement is coming! Act accordingly, with the dignity that accompanies your elevated status.

And at all times, in all circumstances, never fail to exhibit . . . Senior Class.

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All About that Bass

Meghan Trainor rapped, “It’s all about that bass,” and gave birth to a phrase that swept the world in 2014. And a flexing, bandana wearing Rosie the Riveter, along with the phrase, “We Can Do It,” created nationwide support for the war effort during the 1940s.

We are a phrase loving world, and we delight in using catchy language to promote our causes. And rightly so. Our advertising industry has made an art out of creating slogans that are memorable.

My father used to say, “An apple a day . . .” (you know the rest, of course), and he taught me the word pectin.

And weren’t we all raised with the phrase, “Cleanliness is . . . .?”

Our lives are filled with slogans, aren’t they? “Be All That You Can Be.” “Just Do It.” “We Bring Good Things to Life.” “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking.” It is endless.

Whether we are flying the friendly skies, or trying to stop a Trane, we are engulfed with phrase after phrase of various ad campaigns, and our memories keep them alive for a lifetime.

But I am intrigued as I write today, because “all about that bass” is personally memorable to me. You see, I can’t see the word “bass” without thinking of my father, Edward Ludwig Benson, who passed from this world on April 9, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. My father was a singer, a bass, a basso profundo.

On this Memorial Day, May 25, 2015 I am reminded that for me, it is truly all about that bass.

Dad entered the service just after his father died in the spring of 1942. He was trained an an engineer gunner on the B24, then later detached from his unit and asked to carry the top secret Norden bombsight. He caught malaria in the service, drank water laced with tiny bits of glass and ate rations covered with flies in India; he marched through the jungles in Burma where they machine-gunned poisonous snakes that hung in the trees and would drop down on soldiers to apply their deadly strike. “War is hell,” according to William Tecumseh Sherman (who did more than his part to make his phrase come true).

My father-in-law was a belly gunner on the B17, and did his part in the war as well. But his is another story, for another time. I will call him later today, and thank him for his service; he will turn 91 years old in July. Other family members served as well, and to them I am most grateful.

I was deferred from military service. And I will forever have mixed feelings about that. But that, too, is another story.

Today, I am especially remembering my father. His service to our country was exemplary, and he earned medals to prove it. But his life was my own personal example of what it means to be a man. Not everything about him was perfect. But he was loyal. He was strong. He was responsible.

There is not a day that goes by wherein I do not exhibit some attitude, make some gesture, or quote some phrase I learned from my father. You see . . . it’s all about that bass.

He used to boast that he could sing a bass note (B flat) a half step lower than the famed basso, Ezio Pinza. I inherited his voice. His hands. His nose. His receding hair line. His thin thighs. And much more.

And so, today, I am reminded that it is, indeed, all about that bass.

My life’s foundations. The way I walk. The way I express myself. The way I am shaped. I owe much of it to him.

I could easily say to my father (if he were still living) the words the boy said to his very imperfect father in the movie, October Sky: “I only hope I can be as good a man as you are.”

So, thanks for indulging me in this blog today, as I remember my father gone these last six years. And as I thank him and all the others who have served and are serving this wonderful country of ours. I hope you will reach out to loved ones around you, express your gratitude for the service they have rendered, and thank them for the personal impact they have had on you.

As for me . . . it’s all about that bass.

Edward L. Benson, U.S. Army/Air Force

Edward L. Benson, U.S. Army/Air Force

Posted in Family History, Fathers, Stories, Uncategorized, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Carolina Chick

A chick from Carolina moved in near us a few weeks ago. To say she has been “all the talk” at our house would be putting it mildly. She is so darn attractive it is hard to not notice her. [I’ve known girls from both North and South Carolina, and they all seem to have that southern belle thing going on in a big way.]

Normally, my wife would be concerned that I am spending too much time watching our young neighbor, but I think she too has become enthralled with her. Furthermore, we are her landlords, so . . . logically we need to stay abreast of her activities on our property (a task I have no issue with; I will perform said duty with both dedication and pleasure).

When I drink my morning coffee I can look out our backdoor glass and see her early morning comings and goings; she is fun to watch: black head of hair, shapely but petite body, movements that go with a much younger body than mine (for certain). Did I already say she is attractive? [I can obsess sometimes; I have to watch that.]

But let me tell you – this one is no ordinary young-thing-come-to-town. This female can take care of herself!

We have had some trouble in our neighborhood over the last year: some break ins, one involving a shooting . . . and we have united as a small community over this and taken steps to better protect ourselves. Of course, the police representative who talked with us all encouraged us to call the police any time there is anyone suspicious around; we are not to take matters into our own hands, they say.

But this gal . . . ?

Well, if I hadn’t witnessed it myself one day I would not have believed it. A stranger seemed to appear out of nowhere one morning. I saw him approach her front door and attempt to go inside. I was trying to decide whether I should call the authorities, or step outside and let him know I was present. [These things happen so quickly, you know.]

I also considered that it was just a friend of hers I wasn’t familiar with, but . . . while I was deciding which action to take my renter appeared, returning from a brief errand. And I mean to tell you she flew into action without any hesitation whatsoever!

She collided with her intruder so hard and fast I suspected she was trained in some sort of martial arts or something. The altercation was over in a split second or two, and she saw her intruder well off the property before returning to her house.

I doubt she called the police at all. I never saw a patrol car; no officer made any report that day. And she has never mentioned the incident to me or my wife.

I suspect my neighbor wants to handle her own home intrusions; she certainly seems capable. [Wonder if she would help any of the neighborhood if she saw someone in need?]

She won’t attend our Neighborhood Watch meetings, and she appears to be too busy with her own life to stop and chat with any of her neighbors for more than a moment or two.

I’m sure you are thinking, “Well, I know what I would do! I would walk right over there and talk with her. Or at least call her and ask about the home intrusion. After all, she doesn’t own the property; she is renting!”

Thanks for the advice.

But . . . I’ve considered those options, and frankly . . . I don’t see that happening. Firstly, she has no phone that I’ve seen (I know that is almost impossible to believe in this day and age), and secondly, having a conversation with someone on-the-go as much as she is would be quite unlikely.

So, at least for now, we’ve decided to just watch and wait for the right moment.

I’ve noticed that she always seems to wear the same gray and white outfit when she leaves the house, so she must have a job that requires a uniform. Maybe she’s a waitress or something like that.

One thing that’s really odd, however. She must have a Twitter account, because . . . she tweets.

Carolina Chickadede

Our 2015 Carolina Chickadee

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Check Under the Hood?

When I was a young boy in the 1950s and early 60s we still had full service filling stations (that’s what we called gas stations, in case you didn’t know). And each time someone drove up and parked beside the gas pump the attendant would come out and ask, “Shall I check under the hood?”

If the driver answered in the affirmative the filling station attendant would raise the car’s hood (most cars had hoods that opened from the outside then), check the oil and the radiator along with pumping gas and wiping the windshield. Invariably, he would find that the car needed about a quart of oil, and he was happy to accommodate the driver (and add that to his/her bill).

My father taught me early on not to pay attention to the station attendant’s measurement of the car’s oil, since (he said) it takes about 15 minutes for oil to drain back into a measurable place in the crankcase after the engine has been running for a while. In other words, expect that you will always appear to need some oil if you take the measurement at the wrong time; in truth, if you added oil at that point you would likely be overfilling the crankcase.

We all know the truth of a matter, and how things appear, can be quite different, don’t we?

I was reminded of this today as I arranged to take my Toyota Corolla to a dealership for a safety recall repair. I am seldom pleased when dealing with car dealerships of any kind; I suppose there is good reason for the negative stigma they carry.

The dealership was impressive: well manicured lawns, immaculate buildings, shiny new cars, even glimmering pavement in the service area where you drive in. The signage was absolutely gorgeous, and the uniforms worn by employees colorful and attractive. The opulence was everywhere.

But . . . the service was less . . . much less than first rate. The appointment I had made on the phone seemed to make no difference whatsoever; the person I had been told to ask for was not even at work today, and the schedule did not allow for the service I had been promised. [By the way, I can tell you that they made some changes and finally did accommodate me in the end].

The opulent exterior of the dealership in no way represented the way things actually were once you were “under the hood.”

I was reminded of this same phenomenon early this morning as it was announced on the radio that almost all of the eleven Atlanta Public School officials indicted in a cheating scandal had taken the deal offered them by the prosecution, i.e. to admit guilt, and agree to a $5,000 fine, and community service.

Needless to say, school children were harmed in all this craziness, too. But adequate payment for that loss . . . well . . . can that even be quantified? The teachers and administrators involved in the scandal just wanted student test scores to look good to state and national officials, so they doctored them a bit. The lie looked good on the surface, but underneath, it was what it was – a lie.

I am no doomsayer, but . . . I don’t see our society growing into a better and more loving collection of communities. It could be argued that we exhibit more moral devolution than evolution. Ask yourself how many of our national leaders you trust.

We are no longer even shocked when we hear of scandals involving actors, entertainers, athletes, politicians, academicians, religious leaders, corporations, non-profits, etc. Or even . . . the neighbors down the street.

We have come to expect that there are numberless closets with countless skeletons hanging in them. If we don’t know of any scandal in a given situation, we suspect it is just because it has not yet come to light.

We have become dyed-in-the-wool cynics.

Now you may point out that the gas station attendant in my childhood story was exhibiting some dishonesty as he wiped the dipstick and reinserted it into the crankcase to measure the oil level before it had time to settle. And you would probably be right. [Although, I must add that any attendant worth his salt in those days would allow some margin in his assessment for that very reason; not everyone was dishonest. In addition, he would show the dipstick markings to the customer, and let him/her make the decision.]

Granted, what is truly “under the hood” has been a challenge for human beings since man first walked the earth. Humans migrate toward the shiny exterior; we like to dress up the outside even if the inside is going rotten. It’s in our hard wiring, our DNA (if you will).

That may be one reason why we have embraced the fitness rage in our country. We are enamored of beautiful bodies, and we will do almost anything to . . . .

“Hey! Hey! Hey!” [I’m getting onto myself, because I am really interested in fitness and looking good – even in my old age. Ha!]

I don’t mean to start a war here. I just want to say this: “Look at the way we emphasize the importance of how things APPEAR, as opposed to how they really ARE.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” a 12th century cleric has said. But I would add that it did not fall in a day either. There was a gradual disintegration.

It crumbled from the inside.

When the inside of something is rotten; that is, when the outside of a thing is not representative of what is truly on the inside . . . there will come a moment when the truth emerges out of the subterfuge. I have seen it happen in my own life, and have witnessed it in countless others.

So, what is truly “under the hood” in our society? Shall we check? If so, we must do so one person at a time.

The answer will be found in your own heart.

Here is the procedure:

  • Sit quietly (for at least 15 minutes; to allow your inner oils to drain into the crankcase)
  • Use an accurate dipstick (one you’ve wiped clean of past stains)
  • Add adequate SAE approved lubricant as needed

Let’s make sure we spend at least as much time making our insides look good as we do making our outsides look good.

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Finish Line

We celebrated Easter yesterday!

We not only had beautiful flowers in the house and in the yard, but we hid brightly colored plastic eggs (candy filled) for the grandchildren to find, entertained guests for a late lunch (egg casserole, bacon, fried potatoes, biscuits, fresh fruit salad, and a variety of muffins and cakes etc.), and had pleasant conversation with family and friends while the kids played outdoors.

Thankfully, we ate that sleep-inducing food after attending church (trying to stay awake in any public gathering subsequent to that meal would have been impossible), where we celebrated the resurrection with hundreds of others in our brand new church location.

As my readers know, I am cautious about using this blog to promote or discuss religious beliefs (I have another blog where I present those kinds of thoughts, http://www.thegodstory.wordpress.com), and so I am not writing today with any agenda of that sort in mind.

Nevertheless, the season of Spring, the gorgeous Easter Sunday following the blood moon, the television shows discussing Jesus, the brightly colored candy and decorations in stores, as well as the sixth anniversary of my father’s death (on April 9) . . . have gotten me to thinking about the one aspect of all our life stories that is seldom discussed.

The End.

Or . . . as I was thinking of it, today . . . the Finish Line.

Everyone will experience it: believers and unbelievers, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. There is an end for us all, a finish line (if you will) that we must cross. It matters not whether you see this line as just a transition to another state of being, or whether you see it as a true END of existence in any form. Either way, it is a line we must all cross.

And for all parties concerned, those with a professed faith, and those without any professed faith, that line is drawn at the same place: death.

A friend of mine lost her husband of 40 years last week; he was 73 years old. We attended his funeral, offered what comfort we could, then went on with our lives – only, we were slightly more aware of the fact that we, too, would one day be crossing the same line he had crossed. For him, it was no longer just a concept; rather, an experience.

Much is made of the final words of Jesus as he hung on the cross: “It is finished.”

Theologians, of course, have provided various interpretations of his intent in those final words. What exactly was finished? His life? His mission? His agony? His ________?

The truth is, we will all say, “It is finished.” We may not say the words, because we may not be able to do so. But we will all say it with our passing; we will all finish.

What concerns me is not whether or not I’ll finish; rather, how well I will finish.

I was never a very fast runner. But decades ago, when I used to run regularly, my friends and I trained to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. We had run some 5K and 10K races, and had run from East Memphis all the way down Poplar Avenue to the Mississippi River in Downtown Memphis, timing our run so we could arrive downtown just in time to run in a 15K Oktoberfest race, all in preparation for the coming marathon.

Clearly . . . I was much younger then.

I will never forget the excitement (and the pain) as I crossed the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC in November 1983. The Marine Corps band was playing “When the Caissons Go Rolling Along” at that poignant moment, just over 4 hours after an 80mm howitzer had signaled the start of the race.

I go back to that memory whenever I experience hard times, and I recall the pain I felt, the prescribed Butazolidine (race horse medicine, now illegal) not quite equal to the task of taking away the pain caused by my tendon as it struck an inflamed bursa sac with each and every step.

But – I finished. And it was glorious!

And what of your life’s 26.2 miles? The marathon you are in?

For we are all in a race of sorts, are we not? Our purpose. Our intention. Our mission. Our agony.

As human beings we share this together. This human . . . race, we sometimes call it. Will you finish well?

I watched my father finish his race 6 years ago. Then I watched my mother cross her finish line 2 1/2 years ago. They finished well. Brave, resigned, lucid, and prepared . . . they embraced their “ending” with aplomb. I have watched as close friends have broken the tape at their respective finish lines, and passed to the other side; it is awesome to witness the end of a life lived well.

Sometimes it is as if the musical score of our lives gives us a chance to repeat an important musical phrase when it instructs us as follows: D.S. al fine, i.e. go back to the Sign, then proceed to the End.

But proceed to the End we must. Eventually, we all cross that line.

The message of Easter, of course, is that endings can be deceiving, that finish lines are sometimes starting lines in disguise, that there is a fine line between graduation and commencement.

Just my musings. I know.

But I do think about these things a great deal now. And when my own race ends . . . and I cross my finish line . . . I hope to raise my hands high above my head, press my chest against the tape, and burst into whatever awaits me on the other side.

I expect there to be a crowd cheering. And I expect to hear a band playing my favorite military song about the caissons. You see, fifteen years ago I received my instructions: D.S. al fine. I went back to the Sign, and repeated the phrase. Now I am bound for my finish line.

With aplomb.

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The Ring

Fifteen years ago my marriage was in a shambles. I had done 24 years of damage to our relationship and, as Malcolm X said regarding JFK’s assassination, “the chickens” had “finally come home to roost.”

We were at a breaking point, several events serving as the final catalysts of our destruction; we were headed for divorce.

We had just celebrated our 24th anniversary when some secret damning information came to light; the demise of our relationship was on the horizon, and I started to plan the way I would explain our separation to friends.

I won’t bore you with the sordid details, but suffice it to say I gained some valuable insights in the ensuing weeks; these came from conversations with friends (both past and present) as well as strangers in a support group I had joined. The crumbling marriage held together somehow, and we began to make slow progress toward restitution.

In my support group I was given literature to read, and in the process of reading I came across a phrase that stopped me in my tracks. It was “commitment of permanency.” When I read the phrase I realized it was something I had never had in my marriage. I did not even know how to be fully committed, fully invested, totally involved in any relationship.

As I began to learn more about myself, and face the deleterious behaviors I had embraced, I realized that “commitment of permanency” was a quality I aspired to possess, and I set my mind and heart to the task.

My wife had given me back her wedding band in disgust. So . . . unbeknownst to her, I carried it in my front right pants pocket each day; it rested inside the circle of my own wedding band (which I had removed as well), symbolically encompassed by my protection, my love, my new commitment.

Symbols are interesting things. Clearly, they are not the substance which they represent,  and they can be as hollow as empty words. On the other hand . . . they can be as powerful as a battle flag that rallies the troops, or a shiny badge that carries with it the whole vested authority of a sovereign nation.

I took my chosen symbol seriously. I carried those two rings, one encircling the other, for many weeks. Because for me, it was significant that I learn how to shield, guard, prize, cherish, and encompass my chosen bride. I was reminded of the framed counted cross stitch we had been given at our wedding; it read,

“Choose Thy Love. Love Thy Choice.”

I could not afford a diamond engagement ring when we were planning to be married (39 years ago now), and as the years passed it seemed a needless expense. But a decade and one-half ago I made that a new priority. I picked out a diamond ring, surreptitiously paid on it for six months, then planned the special way I would present it on our 25th anniversary in Charleston, SC.

After we recited our marriage vows to one another, we exchanged rings (except that I had secretly replaced her wedding band with the new diamond ring for this occasion). It served to mark an anniversary that would not have happened at all had I not honored the new reality those rings symbolized in my heart.

Our relationship has steadily improved since those days. Now we are true partners. Not perfect, mind you. But best of friends, nonetheless.

And it all began . . . with a ring.

I was just reminded of all this today as I listened to Craig Groeschel talk about the book, “From This Day Forward.”

And I was prompted to write this brief synopsis of my experience with rings, because – in a very real sense, by all accounts, our story should have ended 15 years ago.

But it did not.

A large ring surrounded a smaller ring. And in that nested place of refuge a new relationship was born. The never ending circle of the ring tells the tale, and symbolizes the beauty that can be found – in the refusal to ever give up.

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The Bourne Veracity

Matt Damon may once again breathe life into his alter ego, Jason Bourne. A 2016 release date has been mentioned, but it is still unclear if production will happen at all, so don’t get too excited just yet. Nevertheless, if you are a Bourne fan it’s hard not to get at least a tiny thrill out of the idea of this proposed sequel.

This is due, in part, to the excellent acting of Matt Damon who seems to grace every movie he is in with a unique flair that is his and his alone. But the Robert Ludlum stories are classic in their own right, so the two go hand-in-hand to produce an unbeatable package.

Some think the name “Bourne” is a reference to 19th century Ansel Bourne whose “dissociative fugue” (loss of identity and memory) became famous in psychological circles, but it is hard to establish this with any certainty, although it sounds quite plausible to me.

I must admit that when I woke up this morning and lay quietly in bed the word “bourne” came to mind. But I was not thinking of the movie; rather, the phrase from Hamlet, i.e. “from whose bourn no traveler returns . . . .”

That is, I was thinking about my mother and father, both departed from this world.

“Bourne” means boundary, limit, goal, or destination [evidently, bourne and bourn are the same word with a variant spelling]. And Shakespeare’s reference in Hamlet’s soliloquy is clearly describing death, that “undiscovered country” from which visitors never return. And I woke up this morning thinking, “where are they?”

The thought is not a new one for me, of course. It visits me regularly.

Religious faith offers some answers to this question, of course. But it is devoid of the kind of detail I seek. Well meaning persons can sometimes pontificate on the subject, but in the final analysis their words often lack credibility.

So, what assurances are we left with? Can our departed loved ones see us? Do they care about what happens on earth? Can they offer assistance to us in difficult situations? [The questions are endless].

Friends and relatives of mine who are of the atheistic persuasion believe that when you die you are “like Rover, dead all over” (as the preachers used to say when I was a boy). And my intention in writing this today is not to argue that point. It is merely to make some observations about which I’ve been thinking.

When life departs from a person, I mean the moment the last breath is drawn . . . the soberness of the moment is astounding; the silence is deafening. The moment is sacred even if the departed one is not someone you know.

But if you know the man or woman, or if you are a close friend or family member, the moment of his/her passing has a gravity that rivals Jupiter; you may gasp for air or even grow faint. And if you are not affected in this kind of way you will, no doubt, find that your emotions are arrested, held captive by the momentous event you have just witnessed.

Something monumental has occurred. Of that, there is no doubt.

Is it simply because every person is important to someone else? And so we instinctively and naturally respond with compassion when someone departs this earth, even if we don’t know him/her?

Or is it that the gift of life itself is so unbelievably valuable to us that we agonize over its passing whenever we see it go?

My father crossed a boundary almost 6 years ago, a bourne from which he has not returned. My mother reached that same destination 2 1/2 years ago, and I have not seen her since. Others relatives and close friends have made that same journey. Either they have gone nowhere and have simply ceased to exist, or they have passed into an alternate state and will eventually reappear in another form in the circle of life, or . . . they have indeed reached a destination, crossed a boundary, entered a realm with a one-way door – and they are there now.

[BTW, Christian people find it all-important that Jesus crossed this same boundary and yet returned; this is the bedrock of their faith. My parents shared this faith, as do I.]

Life is so sacred. Relationships so precious. Living is an invaluable gift. Existence such a privilege. Awareness is priceless.

I cannot conceive of it just ending. Everything in me finds sonority, enjoys resonance, when I entertain thoughts of a life after this one. Does that prove anything about where my parents currently reside? Of course not.

But it is consonant.

After all, if Jason Bourne can be resurrected for another episode . . . anything is possible. In fact, it would seem inconceivable . . . if he did not return.

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