Monday, October 26, 2009

The Year 1977

While looking for a copy of Hobbes' "Leviathan" for Joshu's theology course downstairs in Claudia's Philadelphia basement this afternoon, where so much of my American 'sctuff' is kept, I came across one of my earlier journals written in the year immediately after graduating from Amherst.

1977 was quite a year of physical, emotional and spiritual transition in my youthful life. I'd come to Washington, D.C. (ironically where Joshua has come to start his college life in America) after an extra autumn in Amherst, slowly digesting the change from the peaceful academics of college life to the realities of work and professional challenges ahead, spending a year on Capitol Hill working for a U.S. Senator.

2009 means that I'm looking back some 32 years, across the decades of a life lived abroad, professional accomplishment, international development, human rights, with marriage, young children, college children and the personal perspective that such physical, emotional and spiritual distance offers.

I think the line in the 1970s Paul Simon song from 'Heart and Bones' about Carrie Fischer refers to 'an arc of a love affair'.

For our lives aren't merely momentary points on a continuum, nor linear lines of grades, salaries or achievements. Rather, we are human parabola, arcing towards a still point of self-knowledge which, when fully realized, we arc gently away again.

Solitary souls in our body kyacks paddling gently, steadily away from our origins, our births, to middle age to observe more calmly with the safety and quiet silent distance provides the nature of these lives we live, before we turn back to that distant shore, where we return our rented kyacks and ready ourselves for the next journey.

Reading these thoughts of those years, the past Keith speaks still so directly to the present Keith.

In some ways, there was a prescient part of the much younger Keith, even in his turbulent confusion, who could sense the distant future and began to capture some of those feelings in his journals of his 20s where he sensed what he would know -- what life would teach him -- more fully in his 40s or 50s.

"An arc of a love affair..."

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