final exams

It is almost seven in the morning, and it is still dark outside. This reminds me that we have entered the “dark” half of the year. In a couple months it will be the “dark and cold” part of the year which, for me, takes much more effort to enjoy. When I lived in Minnesota where the dark and cold are more pronounced and extreme, this was a time of spiritual despondency for me. Now that I live so much farther south, this reaction is much more muted and tempered by the thought that even the coldest and shortest days here have their bright and warm parts.

Since I designed this runic calendar more than twenty years ago, I have used the analogy of the year’s seasons to understand the progression of all cycles of transformative change—most particularly the seasons of my life. I was born in the springtime, and spring and summer—the “light” half of the year—most naturally have come to represent my youth.  Now that I am in my sixties, I am constantly reminded that I am now well into the “dark” half of my life cycle.

I would be surprised if I have more than a decade left before my time comes to graduate on to the next springtime. If this is so, then I am in my “final exam” season before graduation. The time ahead is when we will see if I have learned sufficiently from life.

Obviously I think I’ve learned a lot and maybe enough; otherwise I would not have the confidence to be addressing the terrible problems which confound and threaten to destroy the lives of the kids I serve.

Since Otto’s death a week ago, the words “memento mori” have been repeatedly whispered in my ear. I know I have a limited amount of time remaining to prove whether I have learned enough to pass on a legacy that will stand the test of time beyond my time.

The days are short and the road is long. God willing, there will be days enough to succeed.


Groove of the Day 

Listen to Arlo Guthrie performing “Days Are Short”

3 Responses to “final exams”

  1. 1 matt
    September 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I was born in the darkest part of the year, and my childhood was dominated by the coldness of Winter’s grip. But Spring eventually came to my life, and I learned and grew as a man. The Summer of my life burned brilliantly, but it has now begun to wane, and I find that I am worried less about myself and more about the fates of others. I see Autumn as a time of maturity, in which I can share the knowledge and fruits of my life, to bring light to our young friends who struggle to see beyond the darkness and find their way back into the warmth of the sunlight. No doubt Winter will come again as it does for all, but like the ant, I am confident that I am preparing wisely.

  2. 2 andy rea
    September 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Very well stated Matt!

  3. September 26, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Really sorry to hear about Otto, my friend. I know, from your blogs and E-mails how much you were attached. Don’t worry, you (and the likes of Aub, Anthony & myself) are going to be around for long time to try & win justice for these young people whom we have embraced. Will not go into details at the moment, but had a great week-end with a friend in a country town about 2 hrs train ride from Melbourne. Has offered to “come on board” with The Gang – not much with the high profile persons, but at “grassroots level” we seem to be making a bit of progress. Tke care. Cheers. £ance.

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