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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, October 30, 2005

One Thought Leads To Another...

One of the few (trust me) benefits of insomnia is that I get to watch interesting TV-programming. There aren’t all that many channels that do not surrender themselves to offering infomercials or other mind-melting twaddle after midnight. The History, Military, Biography and Discovery channels have become my late-night mainstays. (I wonder if “Jeopardy” winners are typically insomniacs?)

Anyway, I’ve been watching a wide variety of programs relating to historical human activity. It may be summarized thus: Endless struggles for power...leading to destruction. That pretty much captures most of recorded human history. It’s easy to become numb to the outrages. Our wars have grown ever more nihilistic. We’ve devoted so much of our intellect and creativity towards making things either more lethal or more-efficiently lethal. We have squandered the lives of countless youth, generation upon generation, “eating the seed corn” if you will. It’s a pretty dismal history.

What stuns the most, hurts the most, are the tallies of civilian casualties. We have taken to killing everyone within killing range. The horrors of war are magnified beyond all comprehension, made unredeemable by the loss of innocents.

Well, one thought leads to another, and I found myself thinking about the catastrophes in my personal life. I knew my previous entry about the pain of dreams had not captured even the half of it. I can stand pain; it’s a well-deserved penance. Heck, I was raised a Catholic. Self-mortification and personal suffering are hard-wired into my brain. It’s the collateral damage that haunts. Our lives are intertwined with countless others. The acts of one affect many. Pain radiates out and hurts the innocents as well as those whom we love the most.

It’s not easy living with the knowledge that you’ve hurt another. Harder still to consider that you’ve hurt innocent bystanders as well. That’s a wound that may never heal. I cannot truly forgive myself until others have forgiven me. Some may forgive readily, others never. Life goes on, but it’s all a little colder...a shade darker.

What else can I do, now, but try to live a good and loving life? What’s done cannot be undone, but I hope and pray that, on balance, when others assess my life’s final worth and meaning, they will concur that, despite my faults and failings, I may have done a bit more good than harm. It seems like a “stretch goal” at this point, but it’s all I have.
I think it’s safe to say that beatification is not a viable option.

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