Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Day In The Life

Yesterday was one of those bad days right out of central casting, complete with rain and dark, low clouds. It was the sort of day one often experiences immediately after a trip away. The awfulness of this particular day centered around three things, giving it a weirdly organized morning, noon and night theme. So, if you were going to write about such a day, it would be rather easy to gather your thoughts. Here goes...

First of all, I have recently come to grips with all of the government mandated changes sweeping over my profession. With the help of my wife I have made peace with it, accepted it's inevitability, and attempted to move on with life. Despite this new acceptance, yesterday brought new revelations that make compliance even more difficult. Just when I thought I had reached the top of the bell curve of understanding, I find myself once again...scrambling up the edges of the thing. Now, a new strategy must be employed, a new, more logical explanation found to use when presenting this new reality to my clients. Yesterday was a jarring one. It felt like a setback to me. Most of my afternoon was spent dealing with this new information, trying to make sense of it. The time got away from me. Suddenly, I looked up and it was 5:00 and time to attend a memorial gathering at a friend's house who had recently lost his wife to cancer. I walked to my car in the parking lot through a misty rain.

My friend is my age. We are two months apart. His wife was Pam's age...and he had spent the past six months or so watching her die. As I drove out to their house I wondered how he would be holding up. He was struggling. He had aged since last I saw him. Who wouldn't have? He loved her in the same way that I try to love Pam, with absolute devotion and honor. Her loss seems to have cast him adrift. In other words, he looks exactly like I would look if I lost Pam. Nobody knows what to say at times like this. I certainly didn't. I mumbled something stupid and empty. He talked about her, struggling to keep his composure. Then, he leaned in close to me and whispered, "Die first..." The drive home was somber. The rain had picked up.

After sleep-walking through dinner, I settled into my library recliner and opened up my iPad. There on Facebook, my newsfeed was dominated by some guy I vaguely remember from years ago at Grove. He was a singer. Not a member of the church, but connected to it somehow. The guy had an incredible voice, and for some inexplicable reason had found his way onto my Facebook friends list. And now, after a very long and bruising day, this thirty-something year old man with a beautiful wife and a couple of kids had decided to announce to the world that he was gay....on Facebook. It was quite the spectacle, an Olympian effort of self pity. Since I came out earlier today, I've lost 134 friends on Facebook. What does that tell you, he pleaded at one point. Well, since he has over 4000 such Facebook friends, it tells me that he lost 3% of them. Not bad, actually. Then, the church where he is employed apparently informed him that he wouldn't be able to sing there any longer. His response was a drama-filled, I would cry but I'm all out of tears.

I read his posts and then scanned through the hundreds of responses. They had the effect of putting me a trance, unable to comprehend what kind of thought process was at play in his mind to lead him to think that coming out on Facebook was a good idea. Although I felt bad for him as a human being, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of day his wife and children were having. I wondered if they were out of tears too?

It was the perfect ending to a perfectly horrible day, a day that felt like something was crumbling around me.

But, today is a new day, and it owes yesterday nothing. On this day, I will move the ball down the field a few feet while grappling with change. My friend will wake up in the house that he and his wife built, without her in it. There will be a gaping hole in his heart where she used to be, but he will put one foot in front of the other and carry on. And my Facebook friend who can't quite decide if he's gay or merely bi-sexual, will, no doubt, be over-sharing his plight on social media.

This is what my world looks like today, May 24, in the year of our Lord, 2017.