Thursday, June 22, 2006

Slices of life

Yesterday was a hell of a day, with a lot of weird resonances. We tend to compartmentalize our experiences - sometimes I'm a father, sometimes I'm an old classmate, or a former co-worker, or a colleague, or a baseball coach. Some days you can be all those things. And sometimes the compartments jumble into each other.

I spent the morning in my usual current way - primarily searching for a new job, but also corresponding with those who are part of my life. I found myself in an extended e-mail conversation with a woman I went to high school with. She is coordinating my 25-year high school reunion and I had to let her know that I wouldn't be attending. I explained our current circumstances, and answered her questions about my perception of her efforts to coordinate the event. Expected attendance for the reunion is way down, apparently, and she is concerned that the event is not appealing to our classmates. She also offered to help me get a job, which I greatly appreciate. I graduated from a small, Catholic high school and my class had only 150 students. As a result, I knew everyone in the class. My correspondent fit into the "sometimes part of our social circle" category. She was bright and accomplished in high school and that has not changed in the succeeding years. Even across the decades, there's a human connection.

Then in the afternoon I drove across town to meet a former co-worker. He is, like me, a blogger and a member of the B of A alumni association, and like me, has not yet found gainful employment. I would hire this gentleman in a New York minute if I were running an enterprise, as he is one of the most smart, gifted and thoroughly decent people I know. You'd think that someone in the world would figure that out and get his services, but it hasn't happened that way. We sat together in front of a Caribou Coffee location in Minnetonka, talking about our recent experiences and the highs and lows we're currently experiencing. I'm hoping that we'll both find a better place soon.

Then I picked up the kids after their summer park program and made dinner, as my wife was at work. As I was reading my son a bedtime story, the phone rang. The call came from my wife's best friend from college, a woman who was the maid of honor at our wedding. She had news for us and when my wife got home, we found out what it was. Another college friend, who has been battling ovarian cancer for a decade now, is losing the fight and will probably pass away in the coming days. She recently had her 40th birthday and will likely not see 41. My memory of this lady is forever young - she is, like most people from Beloit College, exceptionally bright. However, she was well-known for having a bit of a zany streak and a tendency for the malaprop. She would pop her head in the door and would start to say something, then completely get lost in the verbal thicket. She later devoted much of her life to serving those less fortunate, including a stint in India, even as the cancer advanced. She is leaving way too soon.

Sometimes life doesn't lend itself to tidy morals. Sometimes the messages are mixed. But today is a beautiful summer day and the world seems new again. Nothing is promised. But promise remains.


Anonymous said...

Luap says, Awesome column and very well put. Thank you!

margehr said...

"Nothing is promised. But promise remains."

Very true, and I agree, very well put. My prayers go out to your friend.