Five years

I am not much of a hand at occasional pieces, probably due to the fact that I am not much of a hand at sitting down and writing, period. But I feel like I should give this one a try, even though I really don’t have anything to say about today. Or perhaps because I don’t really have anything to say, which seems somehow fitting…

It is hard for me to believe that five years are gone since that terrible day when the sky was falling and no one knew what to do. It feels like an event in a different lifetime, one I have mostly forgotten that I ever lived. Since that day I have parted ways with one young woman, wooed and married another, stopped smoking, had a son, switched jobs, shaved my head five times, bought a car, bought life insurance, and cried a lot of tears. Things have changed, but does it have anything to do with mass murder in the east? It doesn’t feel like it.

Is it a different world we live in now? Is this a different life I am living than the one I was living before? No. But it feels like it most days, in one way or another. Which is odd, because the physical world I live in has hardly been touched by the past five years. I never saw the Twin Towers, nor the Pentagon for that matter. I have never laid eyes on giant Buddhas carved in the sides of mountains, nor the same reduced to lamented rubble. I do not know what Iraq looks like, torn by war or otherwise. All the tumult and destruction and tragedy has taken place at a more or less comfortable remove from myself, leaving my everyday life untouched. The brother of a seminary classmate died on a Baghdad road a year and a half ago, and the news stunned me. Yet I had not spoken to this classmate in years, and if I met his fallen brother once it was no more than that. I wonder now if I didn’t want to feel some connection to this distant war. Now my first cousin is deployed to the Desert, and I hope and pray nightly that the war doesn’t become an more real to our family and he can come back home to his young bride soon.

As I said, I do not have a coherent thought here. Words feel useless, and yet… they are all we have. So we carry on, the living in a world increasingly peopled by the dead, and struggle daily to make sense of it with our words. Perhaps someday soon it will work.

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