Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Old Years Day

Here we are, looking back on our lives and the state of the world at the end of another year. I find it hard to believe that 365 days have passed since I wrote this piece, it seems like only a fleeting moment. That's the way it goes, one inevitable fact of life is that, like the odometer on an accelerating race car (if there ever was such a thing),  2015 will probably fly by faster for me than 2014.

As every year, a lot has happened since December 31, 2013: the Ebola outbreak, unrest in Ukraine, the rise and unspeakable barbarity of Isis, ongoing troubles in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan, more craziness out of North Korea, the list goes on and on. In this country, the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police officers have polarized this country along racial and ideological lines to an extent we haven't seen in years.

For us at home, we experienced the expected personal triumphs and setbacks of life. One thing I did notice was that for some reason, each little happy moment this year seemed to be tempered by a cloud of one sort or another. Just last week on Christmas Day, we had a lovely celebration at our house. As we sent our guests on their way home, we smelled smoke and heard the sirens of several emergency vehicles. Frantically I searched our building for a fire. After I was satisfied that our home was safe, I went into the alley where a garage a block away was engulfed in flames. The fire had destroyed the power lines cutting off all the power on the block. The view down that dark, smoke-filled alley punctuated by flames shooting twenty feet into the nighttime sky was what I imagine the road to hell would look like. 

By far the most indelible memory of 2014 for us was the quick succession of sudden deaths of four friends and family members, two from automobile accidents, one from a heart attack, and one from an unbelievably aggressive cancer. For their life's contributions, these four individuals all left the world a far better place than they found it.

I'm not big on making New Years resolutions but this year I'm making an exception. I resolve to keep the memories of Peter Hales, Bob Miller, Richard Frye, and Jeremy Pollack alive in my thoughts and deeds. And I resolve to never again take any person or moment for granted as we never know what lies in store for us.

For despite all the crap in the world, it sure is good to be alive. 

I wish you all a joyous, peaceful, and blessed New Year.  

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