No matter how many bible verses you quote me, if you are asking me to do something unkind, the answer is “No.”
I visited Mesa Verde with my Dad one October, and my most vivid memory is a simple, quiet moment.
As we sat among the ruins, for just a few minutes, there were no sounds at all. No electric motors hummed, no tires droned against pavement, no distant thump from a stereo; no human voices or airplanes overhead. It was perfectly still.
A hundred years ago, this would not have been unusual.
Now there are people living their entire lives without ever having this experience.
I was downtown today in the middle of running some errands when my eye caught my left hand, and I noticed I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring.
I was crushed. I don’t always wear my wedding ring, but I make a point of always wearing it when I leave the house. I stretched out my fingers and looked again: Nope, not there.
I stopped for a cup of coffee with my parents, and a glint caught my eye. The ring was on my finger! I stretched out my fingers and looked again: Yes, it was there. I spun it around and around. It was real, and it was there on my finger.
I was dumbfounded.
I can think of only two explanations: either I somehow stared directly at my hand and overlooked the ring, or I am a wizard.
I consider both explanations to be equally plausible.
I took my 87-year-old father to the drug store today, where he bought my 81-year-old mother a Valentine’s card and a box of candy.
When we got home he hid them in his underwear drawer.
Kurt Cobain’s problems began with chronic stomach pain and ended in suicide. Michael Jackson’s problems began with chronic back pain and ended in overdose. Prince’s problems began with chronic knee pain and ended in overdose. Tom Petty’s problems began with chronic hip pain and ended in overdose.
I can’t blame them. I understand not wanting to hurt.
I wish I had an answer.
I was standing against the wall, waiting for someone. Two old friends were sitting side by side on a bench nearby.
The first said, “I’m seventy-three now. I feel like once you’re past sixty-five, you’re into overtime.”
The other one considered this for a moment, then added, “Sudden death.”
And they both laughed.
Because of Donald Trump’s rants, standing for the national anthem now feels more like an endorsement of his policies than an act of patriotism.
I always thought it was kind of weird to have a national song that is only sung prior to sporting events, a song so difficult to sing that even professionals have a hard time hitting the notes, a song that’s really just a lyrical version of the fight scene in Cool Hand Luke. I only stood up for it because the song seemed to mean something to the people around me, even if I didn’t quite get it myself.
But now I don’t feel like I can stand in good conscience.