The Test

56750d678ee6c-imageFridays in the fall always meant one thing to me. There would be a test in on of my classes and a test of our school’s football team on the gridiron later that night. I was always feeling exhausted after a long week of assignments and high expectations from my teachers. Even though I was a Hermione of sorts when it came to academics I just wanted to get through the educational part of the day as quickly as possible and move on to the possibilities of the weekend, a time for taking a deep breath and avoiding the stress of study if only for a moment.

My school didn’t have a band but we did have an all girls drill team with a drum and bugle corps. It was considered a big thing to belong, a way of forming endearing friendships and being part of something revered by the student body. Surprisingly I wasn’t a member of the group. My decision was a huge disappointment to my mother.

My mom had spent money that she didn’t have to provide me with baton twirling lessons from the time that I was in the third grade. In my middle school years I had performed as a twirler in the drill squad and had eventually risen to the rank of Captain. Mama had assumed that I would continue the quest to become the drum major in high school but in an uncharacteristic fit of rebellion I had refused to try out for one of the coveted twirling positions and had instead chosen to become a lowly marcher on the team. Due to my then diminutive size I was in the very last row of performers, a kind of afterthought.

My downfall from the glory of leading the group as a twirler was more than my dear mother could handle and she announced that if I wanted to be on the team I would have to find a way to pay the fees and attend the practices on my own. Since I barely had enough money saved to purchase the many school supplies that I needed it became quickly apparent that I would have to drop out of the coveted drill team group and become a nameless member of the horde of students that freely trolled the stands under the Friday night lights. I chose the unconventional road and it ended up being not so bad after all.

I never had a car or a driver’s license. Such luxuries were not included in our very tight family budget. I bummed rides to the football games with anyone that I could find and thoroughly enjoyed our free and easy excursions. We had no uniform code or rules. We were just out and about for the evening. We’d crank up the volume on the radio which was always tuned to the popular stations of the time and rock to the songs of The Beach Boys and The Animals. We’d laugh and sing and swear that on this night our team was going to topple the opponents. We’d whisper our hopes of encountering  certain male someones from our classes and scoring romantic conquests of our own. It was all so glorious and magical.

Our football team always tried but never ranked with the greats around our state of Texas. I went to a Catholic school that was rather small by public school standards. Our arch rival was St. Thomas High School, an all boys institution that prided itself in both academics and a championship athletic program. During my high school years they dominated football, winning the state title several times. Still with the optimism that was mine in my innocence I always dreamed that my team would one day be David to the St. Thomas Goliath. It never happened but it was fun to keep the faith and cheer for our guys even in the face of defeat.

I was an enthusiastic supporter of my classmates who braved the gridiron. I saw them as superheroes, young lions strutting their physical acumen. I yelled so long and hard at those games that I often returned home with a voice so weak that I was barely able to relate my adventures to my mom. I never scored with any of the guys with whom I self consciously flirted even though I often tried. I should have been disappointed by so many of those Friday nights but instead I remember them as being the highlight of my week. Win or lose it was glorious to shed the stresses of studying and taking tests and just hang out with friends. Screaming for my team and laughing at the antics of my fellow students freed the pent up frustrations and emotions associated with my attempts to successfully meet the sometimes daunting demands of my teachers.

Our football team’s most successful year came when I was a senior. For a brief moment I imagined that we might actually topple the might St. Thomas Eagles but that was not going to happen. Back then I had no idea that I would one day meet a young man from St. Thomas who would steal my heart and teach me how to love my one time foes. We would become parents and then grandparents cheering new teams and still enjoying those Friday night challenges that light up entire towns across Texas on cool fall evenings.

Tonight we’ll be at the Pearland Oil Rig stadium to watch the clash between Dawson High School and George Ranch. We will be torn in our allegiance because the kids in our neighborhood attend Dawson. In fact the young lady next door is one of the cheerleaders. On the other hand our grandchildren attend George Ranch.  We’ll wear the George Ranch colors and sit on their side of the field but in the end we really can’t lose because we have grown to love all of the young people who live around us who catch the bus for Dawson each morning right in front of our home. It’s a win win situation all around.

I rarely have any kind of tests these days other than those to explain my medical ailments. I have left the stress of long academic weeks behind. I am retired so even work is no longer a worry. I have new concerns over which I have little control. I fret about friends who are sick and suffering. I tutor my grandchildren and students at local high schools and middle schools and often think of them taking a critical exam. I feel a bit nervous for them when I look at the clock and realize that they are in the midst of taking a test for which I helped them study. I pray that they will remain calm and remember the ideas that we discussed. I mentally root for them as much as I did for the athletes who represented me and my school so long ago.

Life is the ultimate test of our wisdom, courage and endurance. As I attempt to make the very best of what will inevitably be the final phase of my life I at long last understand that it is okay to be unsure of all the answers and to lose from time to time. We gain as much from defeats as from victories, from mistakes as from success. In the end we are tested not so much on our abilities as in how we have lived and treated those who have walked along beside us. I’d like to believe that most of us have passed with flying colors.



1902474be6161ed7fa088914cd72e4b7We all enjoy the world of make believe. As children we listen intently to stories from the imagination and we never quite lose our thirst for enchanting tales. In the adult world tales of dragons and dead people who reanimate excite us even as we understand that they are not real. We humans enjoy flights of fancy and we have become expert at creating visions so detailed and true to life that we are able to suspend our disbelief and fully immerse ourselves in fictions that distract us from the grind of daily living. We build theme parks where we escape for hours into fantastic worlds with rides that both thrill and frighten us. Somehow we need entertainment that is part unbelievable and part akin to our own lives. It is as though the comedy and tragedy of existence is not enough to stimulate our thinking. We humans are extraordinary in our thirst for creative genius.

Mankind began artistry rather simply. People decorated their bodies with colors from the earth and festooned themselves with feathers, shells, horns and animal skins. Some extended their inventive urges to paintings on the walls of caves and the oral traditions of tales that recorded history or taught important ideas. We thought to develop alphabets and refined ways of scrawling notations onto surfaces that we might carry from one place to another. We improved our tools and even while we eked out survival we paused for moments of entertainment. There is no other earthly creature that does such things. Our history is one of wars and violence and humane progress. We enshrine heroes both true and make believe. We speak of man’s fatal flaws in stories so universal that they ring true even centuries after they were written. We face down our tragedies at the same time that we cloak them in facades.

The truth is often so horrific and difficult to face that we deal with it much better if it is presented in metaphors. We are able to think and react to a movie when we might turn away from what is real. A sympathetic hero or heroine allows us to suspend our prejudices and judgements for a moment so that our minds are free to consider new possibilities. We forget that the view that we see in a play or a film is usually made of cardboard and the technology of computers. We sometimes believe a well crafted story with a cast of brilliant actors more than we do the evidence that exists right before our eyes. Sometimes we have to escape from what is real to find the truths that we need to hear.

Shakespeare said that we are all actors on a stage. We prepare our faces and our lines before we emerge from our homes each day to interact with the audiences who expect certain behaviors from us. We think before we speak. We dress in accordance with fashion and the dictates of our jobs. We strut and compete to win the best roles. We aim to please so that we might earn the accolades and goodies that allow us to survive. Few of us have the courage to fully be our true selves wherever we go. We wait to reveal who we really are to those in whom we trust. We have learned that it is risky to be any other way but we secretly admire those among us who shoot the finger to conventions. It is difficult to keep up a facade.

Social media sites provide us with a forum for truth. They appear to provide us with freedom, power and anonymity. It is easy to type in the words that are struggling to leave our minds and then walk away. There is nobody standing in front of us when we hit the send or post buttons. We do not feel the fears of confrontation and yet our spontaneous actions are not without repercussions. Others feel just as daring and verbal jousts often ensue. As we tear down our facades of politeness the world becomes littered with commentaries and insults that hover forever as evidence of our frustrations. We want to be able to own our thoughts but experience has taught us that to do so is fraught with dangers. After we are burned we replace the masks that we wear for protection. We feign ignorance of our mistakes and sometimes even turn away from the discussions that gave us a false courage. We learn that nobody really wants to know our ideas nor do they value our opinions. We only make others angry when we speak the truth and most of us dislike the battles that follow

We instinctively know that much of what we see and hear is as unreal as the fiction that entertains us. We desire good news and so there are those who manipulate us into believing that they are the bearers of good tidings when all they really want is power over our thoughts and feelings. Only the very confident and strong are willing to stand their ground and take the abuse that comes from nobly shouting the truths that we find uncomfortable to hear. They are the stuff of legend. They often suffer for their honor. We see their like both in fictional heroes and reality. They are King Lear and Martin Luther King, Jr., Kaleesi and Rosa Parks.

We humans are a funny lot. We are truth seekers who live behind our protective facades. We are brave and cautious. We risk speaking honestly and we lie. We walk into danger and we run away. Our very natures and physiology prompt us to take chances and to protect ourselves. There is a constant tug of war between good and bad, bravery and cowardice. Like Batman we are one person in the light of day and another in the dark of night. We hate our facades but understand the need to couch our words and actions in acceptable forms of behavior. All of us are prisoners in some ways and free in others. The facades that we build protect us from misunderstandings and judgements. They give us an illusion of strength and security but we always know that they are not real. It is only when we are with the people who allow us to remove our masks and the fake fronts that we feel the liberation that each of us seek. It is called unconditional love and we crave it.

It would be glorious if we were to one day find that tolerance had become universal. How invigorating it would feel to know that each person might fully embrace his/her uniqueness without fear of being misunderstood or ostracized. We are working on reaching that point but still have a long way to go. Sadly our facades will have stay in place for now.

No Excuses

no-excuses-300x200A life is touched by what is happening on the worldwide stage and what is happening inside the privacy of a home. Each of us evolve from the basics of our DNA through the millions of great and small interactions that we have with life outside of our own bodies and souls. Whether our existence is isolated or played on a global stage we become unique individuals based on everything that happens to us and the way in which we choose to adapt to our circumstances. Our destinies are driven both by our free wills and our circumstances. How we view life and react to its challenges is influenced by what we have seen and heard but ultimately each of us has the capacity to direct the ways in which we face down difficulties. Nobody is immune to troubles but many learn to deal with them with courage and optimism.

One of the highlights of my career as an educator came when I worked for a KIPP Charter School. Much like humanity it was not a perfect system but it got most things right. The founders liked to use slogans, something that is usually a bit annoying to me. There was one, however, that spoke loudly and clearly to my soul, “No Excuses.” I had based most of my life on that very concept and I had found it to be a saving grace. When I spoke to my students of overcoming difficulties I was not just some middle class maven from the suburbs attempting to sacrifice myself to kids from harsh circumstances. I had walked in their shoes. I understood what it was like to grow up with economic and social challenges. I knew them, not from books and theories but from my own story. What I also understood was that they didn’t have to be trapped in a forever world of poverty and want. I had used my talents to escape from the cycle that had daunted my family for generations and I knew that they had the power to do so as well.

So many of our leaders are kind hearted souls who only imagine what life is like for the have nots in our society. They generously work to improve conditions for people but have never known the feelings that come from want and dysfunction. They went to plush doctors’ offices as children rather than sitting for hours in a public clinic or a hospital emergency room because their parents had insurance and the funds to pay deductibles. They don’t possess any real concept of the fears and the troubles that so many children in our society endure on a daily basis, but I do.

Long ago I went to a movie with my husband when we were still dating. I can’t recall much about the film but there was one scene that has stuck with me forever. The hero of the story was a poor boy from quite sad circumstances. He had earned a scholarship to a renowned university where he managed to pose as someone from a successful family by dent of his intellect. He met a beautiful and well to do young woman and the two of them fell in love. She was anxious for him to meet her family and so in time she arranged for the two of them to spend a weekend at her home. When he saw the luxury in which his girlfriend had lived for all of her life he was suddenly overwhelmed. In one scene he opened the refrigerator to see a cornucopia of plenty. He was mesmerized by the sight of fruits and vegetables and snacks of every variety all there for his taking at any time of day. His girlfriend was unable to understand why the sight of a full larder had so affected him, but I knew exactly what was happening in his mind. I had never seen such a vision of edible riches either. In fact, there were many times toward the end of a month when the inside of the refrigerator in my home was almost bare. I momentarily shifted nervously in my theater seat as I watched the movie unfold because I realized that my date, who would later become my spouse, had experienced a far more comfortable existence than I had. I related far more easily to the poor of all races than with the white middle class.

As a child I was driven by both fear and determination to use my talents to ultimately loosen the grip of poverty and uncertainty that had so often dogged my family after my father died. As an adult I made it my vocation to show young people the way out of economic want. I had learned that excuses about my past only proliferated my problems. I took command of my destiny and worked my way out of the difficulties that had stalked me and my ancestors for generations. I realized that I lived in a time when there were far more opportunities for success than there were excuses for standing still.

I learned much from my mother and my teachers about hard work and diligence. I was often slammed by circumstances but I watched and learned and kept moving forward even when it was painful and I was exhausted. I used my wits and my hard work to achieve a lifestyle that is comfortable and secure. For decades I attempted to teach my students the same skills and attitudes and many of them have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. I suspect that they accepted my advice because they somehow knew that I was real when I told them that I understood.

It is laudable for the wealthier classes to work for the good of the less fortunate but they so often underestimate the gravity of dire situations and the pride of those who endure economic challenges. It is painful to hear someone pontificating about parents who have been unable to provide for their children. It does little good to publicly point to the obvious. Kids in difficult circumstances want to be shown the way to improve their lot without attention being placed on the things that they lack. They also desire a bit of understanding and compromise when they struggle to meet expectations.

I recall a young man who needed to work each summer to add to the family income. The school insisted that he participate in a formal internship program that provided mentoring and experience but no money. He stood his ground and asked that he be given credit for doing his job. The hapless administrator was unable to see that the knowledge and skills that he gained in securing employment, clocking in each day, and saving his funds for a rainy day was in reality as valuable as the internship that she had designed. Sadly she demonstrated to this student and his family that she was clueless about the reality of their lives.

I saw many such situations play out over and over again. Teachers were often ignorant of the juggling acts that students had to endure just to exist. So many of our kids quietly attempted to work at low paying jobs in the evenings and still keep up with the assignments from their teachers. They often existed on fewer than four hours of sleep. Their health declined and so did their grades. They were unwilling to share their stories with adults who seemed unable or unwilling to understand their dilemmas. Instead they became known as slackers who quietly bore the brunt of insults about their character. Adults from a different socio-economic world often were unable to comprehend the challenges that their students faced.

Those who struggle in our society do not require our pity. In fact they rarely want it. Instead they need someone to show them how to escape from the ravages of want and need. It is fine to give them some financial assistance but we can’t just write a check and then leave. Through our schools we can teach the poor how to navigate in a world of plenty. We can show them how hard work and determination are the keys to ending their pain. We must help them to channel their toughness and let them know that the journey will indeed be difficult but well worth the effort. The KIPP schools are making headway but they only reach a small number of students in the grand scheme of things. There are still far too many children who are being sent through their childhoods like widgets on a conveyer belt. The real key to social justice lies inside classrooms across the country. The changes that people need are made one child at a time by adults who are willing to make the effort to build true relationships with our youth. That takes understanding and time. Those things cost very little but will return profound dividends. Of this I am certain because it is the story that I have lived. We have no excuses for ignoring what we must do to begin the process of eliminating poverty.

The Sound and the Fury

160926213408-clinton-trump-debate-hofstra-your-own-reality-sot-one-00012411-large-169I sometimes enjoy fooling people regarding my age. If I’m well rested, wearing the right colors, and my makeup is fresh I am able to masquerade as someone who is a bit younger than I actually am. I am generally able to get by with pretending to be in my fifties rather than my sixties but I give away my deception whenever I begin to speak about the events that I have witnessed in my life. The reality is that I am only a couple of years younger than the two individuals who are running for President of the United States. They are my peers and sadly both of their campaigns remind me far too much of high schoolers hoping to secure my vote by offering goodies and changes that will probably never happen.

One of them is the class blowhard and bully, the same kind of guy who stomped on my photo with his shoe and proclaimed that nobody liked me. The other is the girl with the fake smile on her face who would say anything to get my vote and that of my classmates but in reality only ran to achieve a taste of power. Even as a gangly teenager I understood that politics was often a game and that those speeches that we heard inside the gym were crafted to attract our interest just enough to secure our votes, hot air that most of us would forget once the winner was ensconced in office.

I remember watching the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon back in the nineteen sixties. I wasn’t old enough to vote but I was curious to learn more about the handsome Catholic who seemed to be a very different kind of politician than the stodgy old men who had traditionally run for office. The discussions between Kennedy and Nixon were intellectual and meaningful and I was so fascinated that I became a political observer forevermore. The camera loved Kennedy and showcased his natural charisma and optimistic sense of humor. Unfortunately for Nixon it revealed all of his physical and emotional flaws, making his arguments secondary to the overall impression that he made. Still, that first debate was not a circus but a serious analysis of the issues and it set the standard for all future televised encounters between candidates.

Over time politicians and their handlers learned how to game the debates. They became more of a spectacle and less of an effort to outline the real differences between candidates. In most cases the members of the electorate rarely changed their votes based on what they heard in those encounters between candidates. We the people realized that one moment in time was not nearly enough to define an individual and so we watched more for the whimsey than to learn anything new.

For the most part the great debates became rather boring production numbers. Only now and again did a candidate do something so egregious that it turned the tide in a tight race. When President George H. W. Bush glanced at his watch during his debate with Bill Clinton it sent a message that he was bored and thought himself above his opponent. It became the last straw in the unraveling of his presidency and a moment that many remembered when they went to the polls. Mostly though the debates have only influenced a small proportion of the voters of late. They serve little purpose other than to reinforce the support of those who have already decided which way to lean. They rarely change minds.

I have to admit that I was rather disappointed in the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It felt more like a marital dispute between and a man and woman who had grown to despise one another. I had already heard every soundbite that each of them proclaimed and found their snark and digs to be annoying and cloying. There really was no substance to any of their plans. Each of them dreams big but can’t really explain how to successfully fund the programs that they espouse. Our country is deeply in debt and neither candidate addressed ways to eliminate the growing economic crisis that will surely hit us if we continue to ignore the fact that we can’t afford all of the things that we do. The reality is that lowering taxes and building a wall will not work anymore than raising taxes on the wealthy will pay for college for everyone. The numbers simply don’t balance in our national checkbook. The sad truth is that we need a combination of both austerity and more income from all of the people but in today’s political climate it is far too unpopular to suggest that we might have to make sacrifices to get our house back in order.

At the moment our choices lean toward two extremes when what we really need is a bit of both platforms. Each candidate possesses some ideas of merit and some that are so far out that they will hopefully never come to pass. Sadly it is out of fashion to be moderate, something that Bill Clinton was masterful at doing. Today the outrageous is in fashion. If I were running my plans would incorporate a wide spectrum of ideas designed to move our country forward together, not as splintered as it has become. Therein lies my gravest concerns for our future. Frankly I don’t believe that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton care as much about the nation as they do about themselves. Neither is up to the standards of the job but hopefully the winner will learn how to really be responsible.

The good news is that we have had some rather nondescript presidents in the past, men who didn’t quite measure up to Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Reagan. We’ve seen real crooks like Nixon and misguided policymakers like Hoover. We have made it through assassinations and impeachments. We have endured the good, the bad, and the ugly time and again. I simply don’t believe that any one person will destroy the democracy that we have. We will make it one way or another and somewhere on the horizon a real leader will eventually emerge.

Ours is a complex government in which no one person may become a dictator. As long as the members of Congress uphold their duties and the Supreme Court rules for the good of the nation rather than their personal political leanings we will continue to be strong. Who knows how the eventual winner of this contest will adapt to the office. The weight of presidential responsibilities has certainly changed many men for the better in the past. I would like to believe that I will be pleasantly surprised regardless of the outcome in November.

In the meantime I doubt that I have the patience to tune in to any more debates. They are simply a mashup of sound and fury signifying nothing. There is little point to spending ninety minutes hearing the same talking points over and over again. It is simply time for me to consider all of the pros and cons, vote according to my own conscience and then hope for the best for the country that I so love.

The Ascent of Humankind

ad220478590first-lady-miche-e1474795934923I have always been a creature of habit. When I was still working I had to keep to a hard and fast routine or I would end up feeling overwhelmed. I told myself that when I finally retired I would become more easy going but found it almost impossible to live without daily parameters. I still generally follow a pattern of living not unlike the one that guided me for most of my adult life. I find myself measuring the quality of my day by the number of tasks that I accomplish. I follow the same steps both when I awake and during the waning hours before I retire for the night. There is comfort in the sameness at the beginning and end of each cycle of the sun. The things that I repeat over and over again provide me with a feeling of stability in a world that of late seems to have gone somewhat mad.

One of my morning quirks is to read the news while I eat my breakfast. I want to know what has happened in the world while I was slumbering. I know all too well what might take place in the dark of night. I have lived the nightmare of arising to learn that a loved one has died while I was blissfully dreaming. Waking to very bad news has happened to me and to my friends many times over. Perhaps it is one of the reasons that I have evolved into a restless sleeper, always on alert. I am thankful for each morning that I see the sun but also leery that I might learn of yet another tragic event.

Today I awoke to find that a shooter was firing at passersby at a strip center in my city. I am quite familiar with the area where the incident unfolded even though it is somewhat far from where I actually live. I have shopped and dined there. For many years I dreamed of living in the neighborhood near there. It is an upscale part of town, somewhere that always seemed safe and devoid of the problems that plague much of Houston.

The updates that kept pinging on my phone indicated that six people were transported to the hospital which luckily is only minutes away in one of the best medical centers in the world. The shooter was “neutralized.” The always very busy road where all of this played out was closed and there was a shelter in place for residents of an apartment complex located near the tragedy. In real time I learned all about an event about which I might have been ignorant in times past and I find myself wondering if all of this news to which we are privy is helping or hurting us. Do we actually have better lives because we are now able to be “eyewitnesses” to war and murder or is the continuous barrage of carnage somehow damaging our collective psyche? Are we becoming immune to the violence or is it frightening and inciting us? Is there a connection between the twenty four hour news cycle and the questionable character of the two people that we have nominated as the potential leaders of our nation? Are we indeed backed onto a dangerous precipice or is the continuous reality show to which the newscasters subject us merely hyperbole designed to keep our attention? How much do we really need to know and how much should we simply ignore?

I am as uncertain about such things as most people are these days. I take comfort in knowing that while we do indeed live in a brave new world that is fraught with uniquely modern day problems, mankind’s journey has wound its way through centuries and somehow we have managed time and again to continue moving slowly but surely forward. Time stretches so far back that it is unimaginable. Our history as people is recorded from thousands of years ago. Whether we take the Old Testament of the Bible for granted or view it as a kind of folktale we understand that murder, war and mistreatment have been a part of our natures for as long as we have walked on this earth but hope and promise of a better world have time and again guided us to the realization of our better natures.

I began watching a series on the history of India last night. It told of ancient Greek navigators who risked monsoons to sail to India in search of enchanting spices like pepper and cardamon. The narrator told of the development of the silk road from China and the earliest kingdoms that dominated what we now call the Middle East, Pakistan and India itself. Many of the places that became centers of invention, trade and religious pilgrimages still exist today much as they did thousands of years ago. Most of the progress and learning that prompted such adventures took place during long stretches of peace. When there was no war humans turned their talents and their interests to creativity and inventiveness. Sadly jealousies and hunger for power all too often overtook mankind’s better natures and brought violence that destroyed entire dynasties. Our collective story demonstrates a human pattern of renaissance and destruction that asserts itself over and over again.

We never seem to completely solve all of our problems even with our best intentions to do so. Sometimes events overwhelm us and we become swept up in realities that most of us would rather avoid. We become part of the cycles of both everyday living and history. Our hope is that somehow we will manage not just to survive the difficult times but also to become stronger and better because of our experiences. Our goal is to learn and improve and move forward, a dream that is at times easier to imagine that to execute. It requires the capacity and willingness to accept one another just as we are.

In a world that can seem cruel and unfeeling a breathtaking thing happened this past weekend at the opening of the new Smithsonian museum for African American history. A photographer captured a touching moment when First Lady Michelle Obama gave a big hug to a smiling former President George W. Bush. The photo shows a millisecond of unplanned, unrehearsed innocence and genuine friendship between two people who have often been scorned by the public at large. In that brief encounter lay the seeds of a better future, a time when we might become more capable of seeing each other not as philosophies or religions or nations but simply as the wonderfully beautiful human beings that we are. It is only when we can look past the slogans and posturing and opinion mongering that continually invade our space that we truly harness the potential for greatness that lies in each and every one of us. It is during the times that we grow weary of fighting and instead live and let live that our humanity most shines forth. That is when our most awe inspiring spirits have the room to soar and ascend.

I don’t know where we are in the unfolding our human history. I have seen both good and bad times in my almost seventy decades. In the grand scheme of things I am but an infant and yet I know enough about our human routines to believe like King Lear that we always circle back to peace and goodness even when we appear to be at our worst. No matter how bad things may look, we need to keep the faith. A new day will come. The sun will shine. A Leonardo da Vinci or an Albert Einstein will be born. The future lies somewhere in our midst, somewhere in each one of us, and it is good.