The “I”s Have It

Part I. Gratitude

People may wonder what life is like after
tragedy. Thanks for asking. Does it ever
get back to normal? Normal? I’m not sure
what normal was let alone what normal

is. I would say muted. Life is muted —
never quite as high; never quite as low.
When the colors came back they weren’t
quite as vivid. You just go. I was never

one to go with the flow, so, I don’t mean
that. I mean you go through life with ap-
preciation but with a bit of apprehension —
Gun shy? Maybe. I guess it has to do with

the loss of innocence — innocence even if
you are not young but have never previously
experienced anything tragic. Dulling the
senses a bit, perhaps. Yes, sanding down

the rough edges. Being prepared. Not ex-
pecting the heights; Not expecting ecstasy;
not expecting Nirvana, Valhalla in this life.
Something like that. I always cried easily

Part II. Grace

just ask my kids about how I would cry
during a sad or tender movie scene but now
more than ever. (Establishing credentials
of sensitivity) You’d think it would be

just the opposite given numbing. Yes, I
cry more easily, but I don’t laugh quite
as spontaneously. Really, that’s about all
I can say. Thank you for asking, though.

Really. Oh, in all honesty (watch out for
that phrase. It could be a set-up), I still
get pretty angry. I’m working on that. Do
you know what I would really like? (No, of

course not; that is just a set up question
so I can tell you what I really would like
to convince you of.) I would like to get
out of myself (that certain amount of self-

indulgence, egotism that keeps my focus
inward) and actually turn it outward in
selfless anger for others. That’s a worthy
goal (and aren’t I noble in mentioning

Part III. Guilt

it?). Goals can keep you alive. Sometimes
the goal is just staying alive. But it has
to go beyond that — eventually. And to be
perfectly honest (which probably isn’t

perfectly honest but is a phrase of self-
justification or self-deception for what
is to come), focusing outside of one’s
self isn’t at all easy for me. This ac-

count is it’s own proof. Look how many
of my sentences are spent on me. (Enter
respected core value of humility.) Just
count the “I”s. The “I”s have it. In some

religious circles, that’s called naming
reality — every word, every posture, every
action, each and every one is tainted with
sin, or self-interest, self-absorption

(and see how humble and sincerely honest
I am about admitting that?). But getting
back to the topic at hand — that being

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