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Truth and Madness

July 25, 2012

I’m not going to lie. Even though writing this blog is something I wanted to do, something I chose to do, I still find it to be a chore sometimes. As every Wednesday approaches, I think with dread that I have nothing to write about. My brain, the over-critical part of it anyway, begins to join in. “What does it matter?” I think. “No one’s going to read it anyway.” That is usually the point when I realize that it does matter, because I’m not writing for anyone but myself. I like writing. That is why I started this thing in the first place, to challenge myself to write more and to practice.

This week, if I’m honest, I don’t really feel like writing anything. Work has been difficult to handle. My best friend Matt is on a cruise and won’t be back for a few days. He left my other best friend (I know you can’t have two best friends because they both can’t be the best, but I think they are) Chelsea to care for his dog Chloe. Chelsea has been an unhappy mess since Jeff left. He was her boyfriend up until a few weeks ago. I want to spend time with her and be there for her, but lately her despair has been rubbing off on me, exacerbating the feelings of futility I already have.

I don’t think I need to recount the events that have happened in the world at large in the last week. I for one don’t even want to think about it. The most troubling thing I find about things like the shooting in Colorado is the relatively short distance between sanity and madness. All of these people, all these poor people who stumble over the edge into the Chasm of Madness, are just like you and me. One moment they are quiet and shy, the next they are cold and calculating killers. I wonder where it comes from. What dark forces in the world prompt such insanity? Is it some aspect of modern life? Are we all at risk? It seems that this year has been a particularly grim year, with violence exploding around the globe. I know that as inhabitants of reality, we will never be rid of violent tendencies and that a certain level of malevolence is encoded in our DNA, but I cannot help feeling overwhelmed by these things. Can there be sense in the senseless?

I am determined, as always, to keep my head up and to look for the good, rather than dwelling on the bad. It is difficult sometimes. In the heat of a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, a bad year, it is hard to maintain. It is hard to see the good.

That is what friends and family are for. There are people that are so good and true that it all seems to make sense whether you’re around them or not. Just knowing they are there is enough to bring a smile out of the darkness of your soul. My grandparents, for example. Here is something I heard from my cousin about them. She lived in my old room after I moved away to college. They charged her three hundred dollars a month and they fed her breakfast, lunch and dinner, if she wanted it. (What I wouldn’t give for one of Grandma’s breakfasts!) She lived there for two years, working and saving money for a year-long excursion through Europe. At last, she had saved enough money. My grandparents drove her to the airport. They exchanged hugs and tears and my grandparents left her in the security line, but not before my grandma handed her an envelope. Jennifer, that’s my cousin, shoved the envelope in her pocket and boarded the plane. She forgot about it till about halfway through the flight. She opened it to find $3600 and a note that said, “Have fun, honey! We love you and are so proud! Grandma and Grandpa” They had saved every dollar of rent she had paid them and given it right back. That’s the kind of good I’m talking about. Good for no reason. I want to be that good.

I wonder how many years of living it will take for me to remember that life is best when shared. I think I will call Chelsea.

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