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Monday, January 03, 2005


Started Thursday December 30, 2004. Slightly belated, but here is to a Happy New Year.

This time of year most people make resolutions they hope to follow in the new year. They promise to quit smoking, lose weight, learn a new hobby, be a better parent, etc. Yet this time of year is perfect for contemplation of the other meaning of 'resolution': endings or finality. Human beings like tidy endings to the chapters in the book of life. Yet we don't get such tidy endings very often. Life is messy and the problems are often unresolved or at best resolved poorly. During Christmas CAG asked me if this year of 2004 was the worst of my life. I answered yes. Starting with hiccups from the past winter, sliding through the spring and summer, crashing through fall, too many stories of this year had unsatisfactory bad, yet complete, endings or equally bad incomplete endings resulting in, at best, a perilously stable status quo. Though the tribulations of 2004 an old incomplete story became an inspirational source of guidance through the turbulence.

Rare in life do we get a second chance. Rare is the opportunity to create resolution in the chapters of life. Yet sometimes a second chance appears allowing stories to have a proper and final ending. The mission was simple, to find my old friend Liz and see her. I did my homework, put a few pieces of information together, and found my old friend. It would be good to see Liz again. A three hour drive to Columbus wouldn’t be that much effort. Seeing her before New Year’s Eve would be a most appropriate time given our past adventures. With nice sweater and pants, a small bouquet of roses and baby’s breath, a full bottle of soft red wine, two cups, and a printout of directions I was on my way. One should always bring gifts when seeing an old friend for the first time in ages. You need small tokens of appeasement for the sin of allowing so much time to pass.

The oddly warm spring like air meet the cold of several inches of snow on the ground. The resulting fog pierced by the intermittent sunlight was cathedral-like in ambiance. Beyond weird doesn’t adequately describe how I felt when I finally saw her. So much time had passed between us, but it was oddly right to be in her presence again. I had to catch her up on my life. So much had occurred. I opened up the bottle of wine; it was far superior to the last bottle we shared, pleasant and semi-sweet. I told Liz I was sorry I wasn’t around when she had her troubles. Had I known of her problems I gladly would have helped her. The noble aspects of friendship are measured by the willingness to follow troubled souls into hell and back. I’ve followed my true friends before, I’ll follow my true friends later, and I would have followed Liz had I known it was needed. Your friends should be willing to help you or else they’re not your friends.

I told her I felt selfish in a way. This moment, this mission, should have been about her, but it was also about me and my simple desire to finally see her. To me the mission was more important than the man, but sometimes part of the mission is the man. Maybe she understood that. I told Liz of our common illness and how she inspired me to continue on despite the obstacles life threw at me. I felt she was a little angel over my shoulder reminding me of things to do and not do. I thanked her for helping me out even though it was truly memories that inspired me. For a brief time I did have an eternal sunshine on my not-so-spotless mind as I recounted all the weird parallels in our lives. After a long chat I finally said farewell to Liz; something I never got to say the first time. It was a proper resolution for us as I planted the flowers in the snow next to her headstone.

Resolutions are endings. As 2004 finally resolves into the mists of time and memory I say good riddance! It was a time of discovery. I observed the best of humanity. Love, weddings, children, helping hands, camaraderie, bravery, inspiration, and ponderings of how to make the world a better place. I observed that I have friends, both from the people that I expected and from people I didn’t expect. I discovered a small cadre of friends that were once broken, dark, and depressed as I was; they knew how to carry me into the sunlight once more.

I observed the worst of humanity. I discovered the hate, the fear, the laziness of people. The destruction of relationships and social bonds, the complete lack of desire to understand the differences in people were too commonplace. When the chips are down go for the simple solution, but not the right solution. I discovered the people I thought had the richest personalities were actually quite shallow. I found some that I thought of as friends, really weren’t. I discovered I had enemies, people willing to threaten me. How junior-high schoolesque is that? (As an aside, if one really intends to employ such childish tactics, at least be capable of backing up those tactics.) I discovered human hubris from those that should least have it. I discovered so many are broken; they just don’t realize it yet.

Yet many endings are also beginnings. All this ultimately leads to that other meaning of resolution: promises for the future. If 2004 proved to be the year I survived, then 2005 shall be the year I lived. Though battered, bruised, and battle damaged some have noted that underneath it all I still have an impressive strength. Though not yet whole I am far better now than even a few months ago. But in the human experience are we ever truly whole? Through the moments of transition and moments of revelation I feel I am being reborn. I am not now what I was; I will not be what I am now. I suspect the results are going to be interesting, and I fully intend to live this year and to see what happens. It won’t be easy, one last semester, bar review classes, that cursed brain drain known as the bar exam, looking for a job are all challenges. You can have mighty challenges and still live.

The future is not yet set, but it has much promise.

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