The dawn tomorrow is a hoped-for event, not a promise, not a guarantee. For some it will not come again. But that is what life is for, to be lived. You must find the value in living and wallow in it while it is yours, and you must measure it not by the world’s measuring stick, but your own.
Looking at it mathematically with only the cold hard facts, my life has come to very little. After teaching for parts of four decades, I was forced by ill health to retire from the job I loved. As it will in this country where profits for corporations are more important than people’s lives, my personal fortune, that horde of wealth that is allotted for public servants like teachers, was absorbed by the health care and pharmaceutical industry, and health insurers managed to get away with paying out less than I put in through premiums for a lifetime. After having to pay for the removal of the pool, and after having to go into bankruptcy because Bank of America decided to sue me instead of help in my debt resolution, I really have nothing left. And if we can’t pay the property taxes that keep going up because the State is continually reducing funds to public schools, we may eventually lose the house. Broke and homeless. But they cannot take away my precious things. It simply isn’t possible.
I saw a woman and her two kids getting breakfast at QT this morning. The kids, a boy and a girl, were both wearing jackets and pajama pants. They were both cute, and happy, and speaking Korean to each other. And I realized after smiling at them with my goofy old coot grin, that I am not prejudiced in any way when it comes to other people. They were Asian. I notice details. But that was an afterthought. It really wouldn’t have mattered if they were black, white, purple, brown, or yellow. (Though I have to admit I might’ve been slightly more fascinated by purple.) Not being prejudiced is a precious thing. It comes from a lifetime of working with kids of all kinds, and learning to love them while you’re trying to teach them to also have no prejudices.
And, of course, I still have my family. I was a professional when it came to talking to kids, so I applied those professional skills to my own family as well. I actually talk to my kids, and know them pretty well. They have learned to draw and paint and tell stories from me, and may one day be better at it than I am. They are musical and play instruments… and, hey! Maybe we could form a family band! All of those are also precious things. Let’s see Bank of America try to take those things away from me.
And it may have occurred to you by this point why I am thinking about precious things and using pictures of my sister’s favorite TV show from the 70’s. We just lost a singer and actor from that show whose music meant a lot to my family once, and always will.
And he was not a lot older than me. And his life was not easy either. But he lived with music in his heart and artistry in his soul. David, you will be missed. But your precious things still benefit us. And some of us will probably be seeing you again soon to thank you yet again.