I collect sunrises. The picture above is today’s, July 16th, 2017, looking east over the green belt park in Carrollton, Texas. Every new day is a miracle. I am sixty years and eight months old as of this sunrise. I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor since 1983. One of those diseases is diabetes, and I cannot afford to be put on insulin. There is no reason to believe I will have another sunrise tomorrow.
But I am not sad or angry. I am not afraid. I am thankful. I have lived a good life.
And here’s a secret nobody has probably ever told you before in these exact words; “Life is a miracle, and no matter how cruel it has been to you over time, or what terrible things have happened to you, the world is a better place because you have lived in it.”
Amazingly, those words apply even to Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson. If you think about it, there was a backlash to all the misery, suffering, grief and death they caused. In a backhanded way, bad people make us come together, find the strength in ourselves to resist evil, and make the world better in ways it couldn’t have been if there had been no challenge or reason to do it. Think of all the heroes like Oscar Schindler that Hitler’s persecution of Jews created. Think of all the times a Satanic figure like Manson made you shudder when you confronted the darkness in your own soul, and how it made you vow to be a better person than he was. And how you kept that vow.
It seems I may have become a nudist in my doddering old age. I signed up to blog for a nudist website associated with the AANR (American Association of Nude Recreation) and suddenly I have nudist friends who are encouraging me to take all my clothes off and go camping in spite of my little pink psoriasis spots. I haven’t actually gone naked camping yet, despite the invitations. But if I continue to blog about it, I will end up having to. Even though the pay per article is pretty paltry. Hmm. I still might not. But you can’t be any more naked with no clothes on than you are when you bare your soul by writing. If you have actually read my blog, you have seen things that are well beneath the very skin of me… all the way to heart and bone. And here is the secret I must impart about all of that nakedness stuff; “People are actually naked all the time. Clothes merely make us think that we are not.”
Here’s a really important thing I have to tell you. I was a middle school teacher and actually loved it. Don’t tell the people at the Institute for Keeping Crazy People Off the Streets. They are probably still looking for me. Though I have reason to believe they may also be entirely imaginary. Teaching middle school kids will do that to you. I was an English teacher for 31 years in Texas public schools. I taught kids to read. I taught kids to write. I taught kids to laugh at Mark Twain’s story about a jumping frog and the people who bet on them. I taught kids to be amazed at the ways and words of William Shakespeare, to see language and stories as poetry and music and the “stuff that dreams are made of”. I taught them that Socrates supposedly invented school the way we do it now with teachers using the Socratic method. So I suppose, realistically, you would have to say that I taught over a thousand kids in South Texas to sincerely hate Socrates. But here’s a secret I must also tell you before I can die; “When it comes to learning about love and life and laughter, they taught me so much more than I could possibly have taught them. I loved being their teacher for the too-brief time it was my privilege to be that.”
And there you have it. Three things I had to tell you in case I croak before sunrise tomorrow. I am not saying that is what will happen. Only that it could happen. But there is wisdom in telling secrets and not carrying them with you to the grave. Or was I supposed to admit that it is actually foolishness? Now I’m not sure any more. But it is one of those.