Friday, June 4, 2010

The Fire Still Burns...after nearly seven decades

When you have seen 24,000-plus dawns and evenings, there is a real danger that the evenings, the closings, become more visible, more deeply felt and a little more anticipated that the dawnings.
After nearly seven decades, one senses that there are not another seven, perhaps not even one more decade, and the perspective, while inevitable, is a little difficult to swallow at times.
Time for reflection, not so much as in time during the day, but more as in the inevitability of reflection is more the order of the day.
It is not that septaguinarians have a more acute memory than others; it is more like the fact that the important things in our lives are in the past, and the farther back they are, it seems, the more likely we are to bring them to consciousness.
I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday; and yet, I can certainly recall the conversation on the shore of Georgian Bay in which, at eighteen,I pointedly and matter-of-factly posited the view that I would not see forty, because it was likely that I would burn out, rather than rust out.
And here it is a quarter century after the fourtieth calendar year!
And, there are signs of rust, but there are also still signs of "fire" inside my belly.
* the fire of passion that pushes every conversation to its most extensive degree of disclosure, and of new insight, regardless of the participants
* the fire of hope in the life that pours from the two-and-a-half month-old grand-daughter's eyes, whose picture adorns my desk-top
* the fire of pride in the accomplishments of three graduated daughters who serve their colleagues/students/clients with distinction;
* the fire of gratitude for the many events that have shaped my consciousness, including those that were most painful, when they were occurring
* the fire of appreciating the delight in writing, in reading and in being made aware of the most demanding and the most complex realities of human lives, even though many are almost completely incomprehensible
* the fire of the memories of the interesting people whose hands I have had the honour of shaking, while they were unaware of the deep impressions they were making on my psyche
* the fire of tears shed for words and memories not shared with those who went before
* the fire of learning whether it be literature, history, education, philosophy, theology or pastoral counselling
* the fire of a great teacher sharing his/her most intimate insights about the subject(s) of his/her life
* the fire of a symphony orchestra rendering a Beethoven Concerto, for whatever audience, probably for their first time hearing the power of such a creative mind
* the fire of a deep and profound debate, disagreement, conflict whether it goes as far as resolution or not, leaving all participants changed from the encounter
* the fire of performances at the piano, in the classroom, in the TV studio, in the radio control room, on the radio phone, in the pulpit and carrying groceries of wealthy Americans to their cars, and the accompanying "applause" fitting to the moment
* the fire of a first motorcycle ride, and a first jet flight, and a first, second and third grand-child
* the fire of advocating for those whose voice seemed mute, when abuse poured with impunity that required "push-back"
* the fire of fear for the eventual 'last day' that everyone faces, and everyone holds within, because to speak about it is to cause 'discomfort' for others
* the fire of dreams still being dreamt and still being pursued
* the fire to read books, and to write books still undiscovered
* the fire to visit places for the first time, with a loving partner, whose presence gives life, hope, promise and cheer beyond her wildest imaginings.

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