Saturday, October 25, 2014

Alone, but not really

Darkness, silence, the crickets chorus in synchronicity. A streak across the starry sky, the death of a nameless rock as it plummets to its fiery death in the upper atmosphere. 

I walk, quiet but for the rythmic sound of my shoes against the pavement. Thoughts flicker across my consciousness. Alone, but not really. The end or a new beginning?

Yesterday a casket is mourned, the remains are honored. Those that cared stand in silence as a country pays homage to a hero. Tears, a choking constriction in my throat. My face grimaces and contorts as I fail to hold back the emotion. 

The airman stands head bowed holding a folded flag. Three volleys punctuate the stillness of the moment. Taps is played mournfully with soulful passion. I feel the notes move through my soul. Alone, but not really. Woe, and sorrow. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 

The last notes linger for a moment as the pastor says a few last words. Revelation 20:4, tears, no death, no mourning... they have past away. A future is promised. A future incomprehensible from my present vantage point. Hope and faith. Love and loving. Intangible? Yes, but no less real.

The tension melts as the service mercifully ends. People hug, mill about engage in tears, whispers, more hugs. A peal of laughter as someone recounts one of a million moments from the past where the hero was being who he was. More tension dispels. 

The casket lies there in the pool of living humanity. Someone places a sticker on it, "I voted early!" More laughter, more talking. Everyone pretends to not notice as the grave diggers wheel the hero away from the living ones. To be placed in silent testament with his brothers in arms. A remembrance to the cost of the life we hold dear. Life, precious, yet at the same time we waste in countless frivolous meaningless gestures.

Life is too short to live without purpose yet too long to maintain the passionate intensity required to really express it's value. The colonel's last mortal remains lie in a fresh grave in Texas. Alone, but not really. The colonel lives on, free at last from the constraints of mortal existence. He can't join me, but someday I shall join him.

I sip my coffee. The familiar sound of steaming milk. The acoustic echo of the disembodied voice and guitar emanate from the speakers in the darkness above my head. Starbucks. A place of reflection and personal space. A quiet oasis of light in the surrounding darkness. A place to be alone, but not really.

There is life still to be lived. Am I up to the task? Inadequacy and inability are my two best skills. Too much to do. Mountains seemingly impossible to climb. Problems innumerable and intractable to be solved. Solutions and fruitful paths hidden and seemingly non-existent. Discouragement and fear lurk behind me, waiting for a chance to leap out and paralyze any forward progress. 

Keep moving. Take the next step. Do what you know. Don't over-think it. There are things that are obvious to do. Do them now, with passion. Ignore the dark. Live in the light. Volitional will, the opportunity and ability to choose. Precious and fleeting. Use the time you have. Only you can choose what you will do. Choose and live, you can't stand at the crossroads and continue down the path at the same time. The choice is yours alone, but not really.

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