One Hour

published December 14, 2016

I’m a little lost. I’m not worried though, despite any outward displays of anxiety. I’ve been lost before. I’ve even tried to stay lost, and it can’t be done. Sooner or later you come out of whatever dark woods you stumble into.

I’ve lost the faith I had in people. Not the love or the respect or the passion to defend their freedoms. Just the faith. Like any faith though it was only one of an infinite number. I’ve lost faiths before too. I don’t miss any of them. All the faiths that died in me, did so of natural causes. I didn’t kill them. The ones that are gone were only ever ideas I kept alive by believing. They had no real weight of their own.

Something always replaces the things that leave me. When I wake up without a particular faith, it doesn’t matter. My feet still find my shoes and my shoes, the ground. Look at that; I’m walking. Gravity doesn’t need me or my faith. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. The involuntary muscles of the finite body too. If I held my breath it wouldn’t matter. The body would recover, do its job, get me through the day.

I can’t read the news. I can’t look at Facebook. Some mornings I don’t even want to draw back the curtains, or drive into town. I can’t muster contempt for anyone, but I feel deep sadness when I see the anger and ego out there on full display now, and I wonder is he one of them? did she do this to us?

Of course they did. And of course they didn’t. We all did this. I did this. It’s a mistake for me to think we were any better or smarter or kinder than the trillions of humans who came before us. I had hope. I saw progress, but for every step we take as better people, we always march back just shy of as far as we moved forward. Free the slaves and replace slavery with something newly disgusting, but legal. That’s who we still are and I think maybe there’s no shame in our historic proclivity for regression.

I can live for periods without pride. How many people go unthanked for the work they do? How many are rewarded for the efforts of others? Or loved for the things about themselves they hate? Despised for that which they value most in themselves? We are, collectively, always as ugly as we are beautiful. We are equal parts hero and villain of our life stories.

So lost, yes, I’ll take it. For an hour in the morning I’ll let myself feel it without censor. And then switch it back off and get back to work. Work I have never been more thankful to have. Distraction. Hours of it to make avoiding the horrors easier for a little longer.

There’s a pilot light inside that’s unsung. It’s not the thing that moves us to tears when we read or watch or listen. It’s a steady burn that won’t keep us warm, but will keep us going. Tolstoy says it better than I can at the moment, and my hour is up anyway.

There was no solution, save that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insolvable: One must live in the needs of the day–that is, forget oneself.

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