19 December 2007: Life Too Short for Anger

Life is too short and precious for anger

Wow! The fur is flying with regard to the annexation of Floyd Hill by Idaho Springs. More reflections on the specifics of the issue in a future column, but for now, watching the catfight unfold is worth the full price of admission—75 cents for a Courant.

A recap: First, it seems the opening salvo of the public brawl was Lady Mary Jane Loevlie’s release of Sir Harry Dale’s tongue-in-cheek “threat” made in an email to encourage CDOT to pave over Idaho Springs. Subsequently, Sir Harry, playing the role of a Clear Creek Don Quixote, wrote a zinger of a letter naming names of those conspiring to bring about the annexation.

In response, developer Sir David Elmgreen, in the role of Galahad, defended the honors of damsels Mary Jane and Peggy Stokstad along with of a few other dukes and earls in his letter making it clear, not once but twice, that Sir Harry “has gone off the emotional deep end yet again.” Does that then make it four times that Harry has plunged?

What’s next? Presumably, a joust between the gallant knights on Miner Street or, in the spirit of the West, a showdown at the CC Corral, which would need to be constructed, of course, in accordance with historical preservation standards.

OK, some satire in an attempt to bring a bit of levity to this heated issue.

After reading Elmgreen’s letter in last week’s Courant, I proceeded to Brad Bradberry’s column, “I’ll catch you all around the bend.” My first thought given the headline was that it would be a piece about moving on in a professional manner. Even after reading the first paragraph in which Brad reveals he has cancer, I had not ingested the total depth of his message: Brad is dying of cancer and his time is short, no more than a few weeks.

I never met Brad and am the lesser for not having done so. From his literal last column, it has become intensely clear that this is a man of courage, strength, and nobility. No whining. No regrets. Just a direct look into the eye of life and saying it was good ride—family, friends, career, life itself.

Brad’s outlook is reminiscent of Augustus McRae’s (Robert Duvall) in “Lonesome Dove” as he lies dying. He says to his life-long friend, the taciturn Woodrow McCall (Tommy Lee Jones), “It was a hell of a party.” What an inscription on one’s marker!

With two very close friends combating the scourge of cancer, Brad’s article strikes home. As a colleague who, each time he writes, appreciates the challenges of a writer and the complexities involved in finding the right word, the right turn of phrase to capture, to get at the essential message he wants to convey, the column has a deeper meaning.

Brad writes he thought he’d live to 80 or 85—another line striking home. As an Aquarian, I quip that 84 will be a good time to check out, with my governing planet Uranus taking 84 years to make his trip around the solar system. It would be the leaving, to paraphrase Malcolm’s line to Duncan in “Macbeth,” might be like the coming of it.

Maybe. Not one of us, as Brad reminds us, is guaranteed another second, another breath after the current one. At some point each of us will breathe our last breath.

Life is fragile, precious, and too often, as Brad notes, taken for granted. It’s an ongoing exchange between opposites living in this duality. It’s grand in the roles we play on this stage. Without us sinners for instance, the saints among us would have no calling.

Occasionally, in my attempts to address issues head on, especially those that directly involve personalities, I wonder if I haven’t “gone over the top.” It’s a continual process of remembering the issue is the issue, not the personality that may be connected to it, with the possible exception of the disconcerting Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome types who won’t be content until the world is a pile of burnt cinders.

It’s the holiday season. The Solstice will occur Friday at 11:08 PM. Christmas quickly follows. Regardless of one’s religious, spiritual, or philosophical position, this is the one time of the year that we collectively, as a culture, have said, “This is a time for peace.”

There are limits to what we can do acting as individuals. We cannot stop, for example, the carnage in distant lands, even that perpetrated by our government. It’s frustrating as well to watch a crazed, gun-toting, angry young fool taking out innocent people in his attempt to redeem his demons. But we’re not helpless.

Each of us can take a step back and a deep breath, and assess our actions. We can take our struggles, angst, and conflicts and put them in perspective—life being too short and precious for anger—and resolve to be and do better. Then we can, working in harmony, take steps to bring about change and establish Peace on Earth. It’s not a pipe dream.

Brad, I wish I had met you personally. Still, I thank you for your life-long contribution through your work to make this earth a better place, a life well lived. For it was and is a noble calling.

Thanks as well for the sobering thoughts, in context of your acceptance of your mortality with dignity, reminding us to carpe diem while honoring every living being.

So, I’ll catch you around the curve where we’ll finally shake hands. By the way, when that happens you’ll likely find me hiking the ethereal Herman’s Gulch trail with my old dog. One favor, please: His name is Knox, a goofy but beautifully spirited chocolate lab. Give him a good ear tussle and tummy rub and tell him I’ll be along in time.

Peace on the next leg of your spiritual journey.

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