Good Bye 05

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So another year draws to a close and the papers tell the stories¢â‚¬¦and I share with you a bit of mine.

Before rising I laid in bed and thought about the new radio show I’ve conceived, wondering if 06 is the year it will actually hit the airwaves and contemplating the financial scenarios required to make it work.

I arose before the family, which is my usual custom, did the exercises to loosen my aching, ever-stiffer aging back and said a quick prayer before my morning Bible reading. “Lord please can I hear a word from you today?”

My reading was in 1 Samuel 3 and there in verse 19 I found a promise made to Samuel that I will claim for myself in 2006. “19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” For a broadcaster, writer and speaker words falling without being heard is about as bad as it gets. Samuel was promised his words would not fall to the ground. My prayer in 2006? That I will grow in 06, that my words will be true and useful and that they will not fall to the ground!

Opened the newspapers and my first act was to clip the movie page thinking a day with the wife catching up on some unseen films might be fun.

But the very next story brought me up short. “CAIRO, Dec. 30 – Egyptian riot police officers rushed into a crowd of unarmed Sudanese migrants early Friday morning, killing at least 23 people, including small children, after the group refused to leave a public park it had occupied for three months hoping to press United Nations officials to relocate them¢â‚¬¦ By nightfall, Muhammad Khalaf, head of the area’s emergency department, said there were 23 dead, 7 of them children, 8 elderly, and 7 more women. Rights organizations said others died after being taken to police camps and being denied immediate access to health care.”

Movies anyone? The curse of global information is the light it shines on the inconsequential nature of our entertainment-saturated lives.

Then a sad story of a different sort. Berghoff’s, one of my favorite Chicago haunts, is closing after 107 years of continuous operation. It turns out that places, like people (I was in SF in Herb Caen’s hey-day and Chicago in Mike Royko’s prime), pass away. That this happens in the same year that Marshall Field’s becomes Macy’s is just too much for some locals. “Tim Samuelson, the city’s cultural historian, described as a “dizzying one-two punch.” “I’m lost,” Mr. Samuelson said. “Berghoff and Marshall Field’s are the definitive downtown institutions. They are part of the city itself. With them gone, some of the soul of the city will disappear.'”

Sensing melancholy coming on, I was cheered a bit by the NYT decision to run poetry on the op-ed page. Even when dark, good poems celebrate the magic of words and if anybody knows what it means for their words to fall to the ground it is the poets.

One short example of what you’ll find there today is a poem titled “In a Loaning ” by Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in literature,

Spoken for in autumn, recovered speech
Having its way again, I gave a cry:
“Not beechen green, but these shin-deep coffers
Of copper-fired leaves, these beech boles grey.”

And so we bid 2005 farewell and pray for God’s presence and blessing in 2006.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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