“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it,” said American novelist and science fiction writer Robert Anson Heinlein.
We procrastinate. “I know my clothes are getting tighter, but I'll start eating better next week or after the holidays — just not today.” We rationalize, such as when a wife says of an abusive husband, “He really does love me, and he didn't mean to hit me that hard.”
Unfortunately it often takes something drastic like a relationship ending or someone dying for us to wake up and look reality in the face.
Once again, we have been reminded that life is short as we've listened in horror to the murders of shoppers in an Oregon mall and first-graders and school staff in Connecticut. Christmas and Hanukkah will never be the same for the survivors, the families and friends.
My friend, Jim Chastain, died two years ago during the holiday season. Jim knew he was dying and got to say goodbye to friends and family. The folks in Oregon and Connecticut did not. I thought of Jim as I listened to the news of the latest tragedies and am reminded of a Christmas poem he wrote: