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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