Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Revisiting the Space Between

This close to the Next Year, rather than rue and regret what has been, perhaps we might mentally better prepare for what is to come (assuming we believe ourselves to have some control over what is to come). I've met those who see themselves as hostages of Cruel Fate or an Indifferent Deity as if we had been plopped down on this orb and abandoned to our own devices.

I'm not sure I can articulate specifically or enumerate with any detail, but I respectfully disagree. Yes, we are each our own Captains, lashed to the mast of the ship that is our life, alone in an ocean of souls, but it's a big ocean and we've all found ourselves here somehow and, at least for me, coincidence isn't really going to ever explain the how, much less the why.

Thornton Wilder's The Bridge Of San Luis Rey may be his contemplation on the value of his own life, a speculation that there's a land of the living and a land of the dead and his belief (or hope) that the bridge between them is love. 

To his own question, would his death matter to God (Wilder was a veteran of World War I, with carnage and brutality never seen in the history of our species, who became in spirit, if not in fact, part of The Lost Generation), he was willing to ask the complementary question: how do we make our lives have a meaning beyond our own lifetimes?

Not the cheeriest of questions to ponder while the old year's days creep slowly to their appointed end and we embrace the next with the same wild-eyed frenzy we did the last, and look at how that turned out. And if the question disquiets you, what of the answer? "Between the idea and the reality. Between the motion and the act, falls the Shadow."

In New England, and across these United States, we are surrounded by memorials in stone, from monuments to buildings, dedicated to the selfless sacrifice of all those who have preceded us--who have set the bar, so to speak, for the rest of us to clear, each in her and his own way. 

Not all of us can be a general, but all of us can be generous. Not everyone of us will be President, but each of us can be present when a helping hand is needed, be it next door, around the block or halfway across the world. We each have the power to save the world, at least the small plot of it on which each of us stands.

Where could we be this time next year if we strive to be great at this time this year? We have a year to work on the answer and make one another forget the question. "The space between the bullets in our firefight is where I'll be hiding, waiting for you." Have a great start into 2015.
-bill kenny


Anonymous said...

You really know how to take all the fun out of a good wallow in the self-pity pool.
Nicely perspectivized.
And, wishes for an even better 2015 than you may have been expecting!
May Silvester smile on all y'all!

William Kenny said...

Thanks for the kind wishes for this brave new Year. In the words of Yoko's boyfriend, 'let's hope it's a good one, without any fear.'
Best to you and yours from me and mine!