Spectral Morning

My eyes were half-closed and choked with sleep this morning as I stepped into the darkened bathroom.

The backyard was framed by the window pane, it’s slender birch trees pale white against the bruised purple sky. They stood like hungry ghosts against the waning night sky, their shoulders wrapped in a veil of pink and orange clouds.

* * *

A cold drizzle fell on the windshield as Pedro turned the rental onto Route 202.

“I grew up about twenty miles north of here,” I said. “I passed this way en route to The Shore a hundred time.”

Nearly twenty years later, I was following my wife, her sisters and parents to the Chandler Funeral Home to bid farewell to their matriarch.

Funerals are an oddly beautul combination sadness and joy. While the loss is palpable and deflating, remembrances are at once touching, inspiring, and brushed with the bright patina of levity.

I was happy to be there with my wife.

As I sat reflecting, so moved by the grandchildren’s contributions to the service — poems, prayers and stories — I was struck by the feeling that this is humanity at its best.

We are made to love: to find the best in each other, to connect and relate with empathy, understanding and care. And in moments like these, I thought, we do.

How, then, do we find ourselves so divided, disconnected, and discontented? How, then, do we find ourselves with situations like Darfur, Iraq or Afghanistan? How, then, do we find ourselves drowned in a pop culture din of sound and fury signifying nothing?

As I grow up in fits and starts, there are moments of clarity. As I grow older, taking two steps back for every three forward, there are instances when I think I know why we’re here.

Ethan’s birth was one.

Yesterday was another.

We are made to persist.

Moment to moment, year to year, generation to generation, we are on this earth to create a legacy of joy, wonder, and grace.

Then we pass it on.

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