A Bead on an Endless String

December 31st, 2018

The roads will suck tonight. It’s been raining most of the day, but now it’s turning colder. The sky is full of fat, wet snowflakes. So far, only a few of them are sticking, but soon the streets will be slick as frog snot. I’m not going out again. It’s New Year’s Eve, but I don’t have any place to go anyway. Stefan went to friend’s house, and he will probably sleep over there. I’ll just hunker down with the two dogs. They’re not much for conversation, but then they don’t drink my beer either.

I am trying to reflect on the events of the last year, because that is what people do on New Year’s Eve. Well, some people do that. Other people go to Times Square in New York City to welcome the New Year. I’ve been to Times Square. That is not the place where I would want to be at the beginning of 2019. Why begin a new year with the equivalent of an epileptic seizure? Good Lord…

Sorry, I digressed. Anyway, I have been reflecting. This last year has been interesting. That cannot be denied. I have not been cursed with a boring life. If anything, I would be okay if my life eased back on the throttle just a bit. That won’t happen. It won’t happen because I actively look for new experiences, and people usually find what they seek.

My memories of 2018 are incoherent. There were a lot of different things going on at once. The early part of the year was consumed by my adventures with the Native Americans. Honestly, that, by itself, was enough stimulation to last for the entire year. It will take me along time to really sort through what I learned during those weeks I spent with the Indians. Simultaneously, there was intense drama with a girl we love: a series of small deaths and resurrections. During the course of the year, my father died and our first grandson was born. One son wrestled with his PTSD, and also became a father. One son became an Iron Worker, and split from his girlfriend. Karin and I stayed and prayed at monasteries. I took a course in immigration law, and then realized how little I actually know. I escorted undocumented immigrants to court. I tutored Syrian kids. I participated in a few peace demonstrations. I studied Spanish and Hebrew. I got drunk a few times. It was a busy year.

Did I learn anything? Hell, I don’t know. Probably not. I’m good at not learning from my experiences. I can be pretty dense that way.

I have an image in my mind. I see a long string, stretching endlessly from the past into the future. I see myself as just one bead on this string. There are many other beads. I am only one of an infinite number, but I am necessary to the pattern. This image came into my thoughts after my dad died, and especially after our grandson was born. I’m part of a pattern.

Many years ago, I spent time with a man named Peter. He is from Texas, and he does spiritual healing. I had a session with him. He watched my spirit, as a part of a vision. Later he told me what my spirit had been doing. It was hard to follow his explanation because his vision was symbolic and non-linear. Visions are like that.

Peter told me this: he saw me surrounded by my ancestors. They were all singing. Then a voice (maybe that of an angel) said, “Frank no longer needs to sing the song of his ancestors. He can sing his own song now.”

Do my children sing their own songs now? Do they still sing mine? What will our grandson sing?

It’s just a song. A song that echoes through the years, that may be heard by future generations. A song that has endless variations and harmonies.

Or maybe, it’s just a bead on a string.





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