A Historic Day

“Historic.” That word has been bandied about much lately. Today is historic. Barack Obama is now president of the United States of America. Much ado has been made. I hope he governs wisely and well. And I hope, as he says, that we are in a new era of responsibility.

Today is also the day I got the news that a dear friend’s father has passed away. It didn’t really hit me until I got off the phone with him and told Cristina out loud (and again now as I write this). I have absorbed the very same news about the fathers of friends no less dear. But I knew this man better. I see his face more vividly. I hear his voice and his humor more clearly. His manner is more familiar than those who have gone before. I have seen in my friend so many traits of his father that I admire and treasure and hope rub off on me. They are his inheritance as a son and my blessing as his friend. What great loss this world now suffers! What pain he and his family must now feel! How fragile is life; how imminent death.

Obama is a man—hopefully a great man, but a mere mortal—who will make his mark on history and then lay to rest with our fathers.

Ted was a great man who made his mark in the lives of his family, his children and grandchildren, his friends and many others, and who now makes a mark on us through them.

Today is a historic day. It reminds us of how sweet and few are the moments we have to savor here on this earth, how precious and dear the people we have to love in this life, how significant and short the time we have to forge our place in history, and how exigent the eternal weight of responsibility we bear to prepare ourselves, and those around us, to face our mortality and meet our Maker.

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