A Cup of Conversation – July 2017

I enjoy reading Paul Becker’s column. Our mayor is bedrock small town life. Some will respectfully disagree with his views on city business but none can argue the irreducible wisdom gleaned from the better part of a century living the dream called America.

Paul will continue to defend the next generation’s heritage of this small town. When the kids realize big city dreams sold to them weren’t as advertised, some will come home to give our grandchildren the same blessed life we enjoyed. That’s called legacy and the only lasting thing we leave behind. May our legacies never be the kind our progeny must spend lifetimes overcoming.

I recently put Mary on a plane to soak up the salty air in one of her most special places to be. We received some very good news, miraculous if truth be told, concerning her health. We continue to be a family of miracles and it’s time to rest now and soak in much gratitude. I’ll join her shortly, just in time to celebrate our daughter’s twenty-something birthday on the 4th of July. Her brother is now a big wheel in the United States Navy so while on base we get to enjoy the greatest fireworks spectacle on earth.

From Point Loma to the Downtown Harbor, San Diego hosts the Big Bay Boom with four synchronized barges loaded with the best legal pyrotechnics known to humankind. With a wave of our son’s security credentials, we get to settle in for the day on the long pier at Coronado Island Air Station and watch the festivities exploding in the night just hundreds of feet right above us. The comforting irony of the Pacific Fleet providing the breathtaking backdrop to the celebration does not escape anyone. When the rocket’s red glare begins bursting in air, there’s not a lot of discernible conversation for the next hour or so.

Thousands of generational Navy families of all persuasions; every race, creed, color and gender, gather to take part in remembering the freedoms our nation is all about. How interesting. Great sacrifice surrounds us; the ultimate sacrifice for many. Everyone is kind, welcoming and generous in their time, space and celebratory provisions! The sea air is clean and we breathe deeply, momentarily free from the gangrenous stench of a mighty nation currently infected by virulent strains of ideological rot. At twilight’s last gleaming, all leave here unified as one family, feeling awestruck; grateful for the most generous nation on earth and the sacred gift of being an American. There’s no littering, no destruction of property, no sign thousands of people were just here. Even more interesting.

So, out of respect for our country’s upcoming birthday, I decided to go on a media fast. Anesthetizing myself at the hypnotic fires of a morally corrupt medium has become a bad habit rationalized too easily. I’m sick of being a receptacle for a lesser mind’s garbage in the name of entertainment; a brand of pollution almost exclusively hateful to the things mattering most to me.

Looking deep in the mirror beginning my sixth decade, legacy is staring me down. An unyielding truth of why I’m still here haunts my spirit. Finishing well must still require something of me, maybe ultimately to understand this miraculous, forgiven life full of grace and second chances.

The celebration will end in its own climatic glory and the last leg of a long march impatiently waits for my return. The narrow road continues ahead just outside the gates. With towering silhouettes of Sacrifice, Duty and Honor flanking our exit, I’m ready now to finish the race amongst this cloud of witnesses. And by God’s grace, a finish to a life lived well.

Be good not bitter.