31 December 2014

"Slum of a Year"


A former friend of mine's father-in-law used to say of the 20th century that it was a, "slum of a century". He would point to the Shoah, two world wars, the atomic bombing of Japan, poverty and starvation in much of the third war, and widely ascendant Marxism, before resting his case. I agreed with him then, and now.

2014 will be remembered as a slum of a year. Aside from my personal losses, home, friends, and self-image, consider the election of a luddite majority to our Congress, the resurgence of the worst aspects of American racism, Ebola which is destroying Sierra Leone, the increasingly obvious self-segregation of American populations, one word: Fergeson, emergent fascism in New York's police unions, and murder of civilian populations in Eastern Europe, and especially Syria. Throw in the very worst aspects of theocracy is Syria, Egypt, and Iran, the unbridled sexism and homophobia apparent in Africa, and like the late Mr. Feldmann, I rest my case.

In our own lives, my left hand is injured. Treatment will continue into the new year, I may yet salvage the use of my finger. We lost one of our longest and closest friends: Brian. He was a good person who deserved a better ending. His sister-in-law and we tried and at least saw him, as the ancient Kelts said, "well sped." His wife, another long and dear friend has been incapacitated by a stroke. We are transitioning away from the foreclosure of our home. Neither of us is, "handling it all well." I am not at all sure we should.

And yet through all of this, the song of St. Paul resonates. "Rejoice! And again I will say, "rejoice." And so tomorrow, I shall make a fairly nice if not spectacular dinner, served for what may be the last time on our heirloom plates. Tonight a few of us will gather with a toast to the arrival of 2015. And we will attempt to rejoice as we move along in the universe created for mankind, and sometimes ill-treated by us.

Rejoice! Today is the 8th day of Christmas!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dad,

It certainly has been a heck of a year. Brian's loss is enormous. Michael Moon's, too. We're still here, though and there will be good times ahead. Your son walked away from his car accident without serious injury when it could have been very different. When this thought occurred to me, I realized everything else will be dealt with as it comes. Hoping 2015 will bring many unexpected joys for you and mom.

-Your daughter, Christal

P.S. Please feed us tonight!!

Anonymous said...

P.S.S. Please help me to cook something that doesn't come in a box or a can.

Jim said...

Ah Daughter,

You are one of the bright spots. The boys and your children are others.

We will rejoice. As my friend and a much greater man than I says, "Joy Anyway!"

Talk about a personal post.... :-)

St Laika's

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