Letter From New York 01 04 15 Living in a world of choices…

The sun has set and the lights in Claverack are blinking on, here on Patroon Street. If the family of deer trotted across the property, I missed them, as I was busy in the kitchen cooking for some friends who are coming for dinner.

Today I woke early, close to five and attempted to return to sleep but really couldn’t so eventually got up and made coffee. While it was brewing, a text came in from a friend down in Delaware who apparently was having the same kind of morning I was having. Feeling fretful and grey like the day, he took himself for a walk to the beach from where he sent me a picture of a beautiful but barren beach.

We had a text conversation for a few minutes and then he let me know he needed to call a friend who had just informed him, by text, that he was very ill with a form of leukemia.

That smacked the world into perspective.

While I have anxiety about moving into the New Year, it is not burdened with health fears and the prognosis of a limited horizon. It caused me to realize I have all kinds of options and opportunities in front of me. And it is with that knowledge I must move forward.

There was a task I have been delaying so I went to my laptop and finished it and got it off my desk. After showering, I went down into Hudson and went to Christ Church Episcopal for their 10:30 Sunday morning service. I was, unfortunately, a little late because there was a radio interview on NPR with Deborah Halber, who is the author of The Skeleton Crew, all about amateur sleuths who help solve the country’s coldest cases.

I know one of them well. His name is Todd Matthews and he solved a forty year old case known as The Tent Girl, an abandoned body wrapped in a piece of tent canvas for a shroud. Todd was active in The Doe Network, a group of hard-core individualists who become fascinated with particular cases and are like dogs with a bone. They won’t give up. He has parlayed his work into a job as Communications Director for the recently formed NamUs, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

His work is fascinating. He was one of those amateurs who got it into him and he wouldn’t let go until the woman was identified. We’ve been friends now for ten years or so and while we don’t connect frequently, we have a place for each other in our lives. I admire him immensely.

So I was late to church, a thinly attended service this second Sunday after Christmas. Being a lapsed Catholic, I find solace in the services of the Episcopal Church, so like Catholicism but fundamentally different in their approach to many things. Mother Eileen, interim Rector of Christ Church, always goes out of the way to make me feel welcome.

Like many, I have a hard time concentrating on the sermon but it was a good one today, about carrying the Christmas spirit forward into the year, that all of us have good and evil in us and we make the choices day to day on which we’ll be.

At least that’s what I took away from it.

Hey, Hitler was said to have doted on children and Osama Bin Laden was many times a daddy.

It is now fully dark. I must go turn on the lights so my guests can find their way to my home and I will do my best to live in the choice of good over evil and, while I must acknowledge my anxieties, I must also remember all the good fortune in which I live.

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