Remember, my dear, to unfurrow your brow at least more
than half the time, that for all the liberties we fight for
in this world that we insist ought to be just, we should not
forget the right to refuse the oppressive accusation of anxiety.
Let the doggone proverbial other shoe drop wherever it may,
but for heaven’s sake let us not hinder the peace that passes
understanding from descending like a deluge where it will.
Remember, my dear, the children so carefree they might as
well be living in another world. Remember how we were
children once, more in touch with our preciousness and yet
never hounded by the compulsion, like a dictator, to retain the
status by our performances and endless, vicious, unspoken
comparisons. Who knows when we will become children again?
Remember that vengeance is not ours, and yet still that
those who succeed in injustice will not persist, and those who
persist in it will not succeed. That though we work our
butts off precariously toeing the line between drudgery and
insanity, somewhere beyond the horizon is a home cozier
than even a hobbit’s in the Shire.
Somewhere farther than we know (but for all we know,
in a sense closer than our own heartbeats), there is a rest
beneath the rest.
Remember, my dear, that at the center of the universe,
no matter how hidden it may be—obscured by our unholy
strivings or numbed by our cherished scars—is a face
acquainted with our troubles, but wearing not a frown
nor a smirk but a smile.
(March 2016, pace Frederick Buechner, Tim Keller, & Loren Eisely)
It has taken you some time now to try to decide
if it is proper to tell your boy—in all the sunny brightness
of your days of play, of rough and tumble—
that we all expire someday. Is there sense, for instance,
in explaining death when he has just
discovered counting, biking, fishing, or the movements of queens,
rooks, knights, bishops? (Does chess imitate life,
he might ask, or does life imitate chess?) And to think
that you’ve just told him not to sacrifice a king for a pawn.
It’s like Jesus presaging a crucifixion after healing the blind
or in the middle of a feast: “Great banquet, Zaccheus.
Right, men?” In the shuffle he says, “Please pass
the kebab, here’s the sourdough. And by the way,
I’ll be murdered the week after next.”
Maybe you can begin with the late family dog,
protohuman in his loyalty and need for attention.
At least Bingo lived to forty human years. But the fact
that our lifetimes will only be two-digit numbers
at any rate is a pretty bad proposition to begin with.
Unless you believe in pet heaven.