I don't think I can ever get over the transient nature of life on earth. That truly "Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever" (NIV Ecc. 1:4). I find the perpetual waves of people crashing upon the shore astonishing; I find my being in a particular wave astonishing; I'm forever trying to observe it and access meaning. Dwelling upon this human transience too long is certain to lead to a sense of absurdity and hopelessness (however steadied by the eternal belief).
Today, while taking my son to school, I saw a black man dancing alongside the sidewalk as he listened to his beats with earphones. Dancing is symbolically seen as a happy, romantic thing. But, it can also be one of sorrow. His eyes were glazed; his contention was unnameable; did he stagger? I can't presuppose his dance was happy. Yet, there he was snapping in my perspective, in my secure minivan, in my safe world, across the plain of human existence, the stage, the wave. Tomorrow, he will be gone, and I will no longer be driving as his observer, my morning purpose.
Yesterday, my aunt sent out her normal e-mail which provides an attached copy of an old newspaper from my hometown. She scours these in her geneology studies. This particular one is dated January 28th, 1943, and we are in the throes of war. The main headline reads: "Roosevelt, Churchill Met In Casablanca To Map Strategy." Throughout the paper are names, names, names, names. One man becomes an army chaplain; one local woman is the real heroin of the book/movie They Were Expendable. One man sold a sow to another. One baby was born to this woman. One of my relatives had his obituary listed. One family visited another family. One local soldier was blown up and in critical condition in Kansas City. One couple is urging more locals to sign up for government work to support the troops. One woman made three pies for a fundraiser.
They were expendable; they thrashed; made an early or late exit; and lived, breathed, danced, cried, sat and looked, wondered and wrote.
It's a bit dizzing, really. When I live my life, I think of the significance of now and the despair of now. Like my grandmother and mother before me, I will keep my head up and be grateful.
Yet life is astonishing. So many dead. So few alive.
March, dance, make pies, pray, hope, and believe like crazy for the good high mountainous path toward heaven. Choose it.