Somewhere on Stickersville Road in rural southeast Pennsylvania in 1983 there was a boy sitting in the back up of an old pickup truck laughing with joy having an adventure just getting ice cream with his father.
Happiness has become an abandoned house. Once alive, once full of warmth and activity. Over time, piece by piece, things move away from it until there are only bones and echoes. And I've done it myself, I've watched time come in and take things and done nothing. It's time to rebuild.
I knew this day would come. It had to. I suppose it didn't have to; but for all my miserly, curmudgeonly tones of anger, I do actually love my life; my family, my friends. And now here I am, finally aged into my already elderly tendencies. I am turning 40 years old tomorrow.
After we leave this world there remains only our artifacts. The dusty items that filled our lives, now in boxes and shelves. Scratched on paper and wood, the finger print of us. Tucked away and forgotten waiting for someone else to discover and evaluate.
I can and never will claim to be an authority on Christian theology — I've studied and read quite a lot over the last 20 or more years (as I've developed, questioned, considered, lived, lost, floundered, ignored, confessed, pleaded, cried, wondered, wandered, searched, found, repented) in my beliefs. I'm a man who falls short of what God would want, always. But one thing I will always try to be is honest.
As you age, you will start to feel the squeeze of time. Your own time. And specifically how much of it you have left in this brief life. Truly none of us know if we'll see another day, or another hour, but beyond being frozen in the mire of our inevitable fatality, you go with the averages, do some math, and figure out that you have less life ahead (than more). And you start to ask yourself — is this it, have I achieved all that I am or can be?
For the last ten or so years, my family (my kids, my wife, my mom, my dad, my sister and aunts, uncles and cousins) have been going to this little island on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina; Sunset Beach. A few years ago there was a rip within the family. It was no small rip, but it could have been mended. Instead it grew, till the fabric was severed.
And this is how the end begins, a small amount of change at a time. A quiet unraveling. A soft and steady suffocation. And then it's hard to breath. Things come unbound. An empty well that draws no water. You look back as you move forward, and there it all lies, telling the story of now and how you're here and ahead is dark, but you keep moving.