Friday, September 22, 2006


If I hadn’t started running, a few years ago, I would be dead now. Dead or in prison. Dramatic, I know -- but I am Lord of the Proscenium. I needed some means of dealing with my energy, physical and emotional, and running was hard and took time. It kept me technically sane. It diffused my rage. I’m a black-and-white kind of guy, as you must know by now, even with your only occasional visits. Evil needs to be destroyed, or so I claim to believe. Unfortunately for my savage requirements of justice, destroying evil is, technically, a crime. And anguish breeds despair. Thus, dead or in prison.

So tonight, in the thing that I do with my evenings, my wonderful and necessary legs were exposed to some peril. No, kind sir, please, do not harm my heels and ankles! For more than you can ever fathom depends upon their good function! It isn’t the pain -- we find ways of dealing with that. We can be stoic about all that. It’s the damage. Injury keeps us from doing what we need to do. Need to do, to stay sane. To avoid death or prison. And being me, prison would be the same as death. I’d just be killed. You wouldn’t understand. It’s a Jack thing. I’m not capable of backing down. I have a very rigid personality. I'm generally capable of keeping my mouth shut, but I have weird and distorted ideas about integrity. Not a formula for survival in some milieus, eh?

It’s a puzzlement, then. Because I strive for gentleness. And I’ve never really been violent. But it’s there. I just keep it under control. Control is something I’m good at. Ah. Here it is. My son is in harm's way. And what I’ve always known is that if anything happens to him, all bets are off. One of those stupid bargains we make with God. God will never honor such a contract. So I suppose it’s not with God at all.

There must have been a time, in the not too very distant past, when I thought nothing really bad could happen to me and my family. But I lost two sons, and certain ancillary assets, and that might change one’s outlook, I dare say. So now I feel no assurance about the benignity of God’s shepherding. As far as I’m concerned a sheep lost to me is lost. God’s greater fold is bursting with found lost lambs, yet there is a mighty wailing that rises in the fields from the tormented throats of mothers who have lost their babies and of fathers who have lost their sons. As it were.

Well, I am a philosopher. So it can be no undue strain to me, that I process my grief and file it under i for inevitable. That those I love have been removed from all human possibility of returning to me -- this has been dealt with. I ran the circumference of the earth, to shed those tears. But I have a son, and I am afraid. I have been broken, and it really hurts, but scar tissue does its job. My son, though, my son.

God, we need more than parables.



Brent said...

I've been mulling this one in my mind for a few days. I know there's really nothing to say that will suffice and that this is process for you but I'll be a silent witness, listening.


Jack H said...

Yep. Nothing to be said. Sometimes I don't even realize what I've written.