05 January 2009

Deis Irae Deis Illa…

Days of reckoning, that’s what January is about. We reckon the year, notably. But because of that we also do lots of financial stuff, quarterly taxes being the one I face.

Must file a FAFSA this year, so I must also reckon my mortgage and retirement and other assets to qualify for financial aid for my son’s college next year. Seven years ago prices were lower, especially in Canada where our elder son chose to attend. So we not only could not but did not need to file the dreaded form. Oh, for the good old days…

The postponed chores set aside December 1st are now overdue, at least morally. My task list is considerable and cutting me no slack, though the weather is in no sense inspiring. Unless I mean that literally, as in the sucking sound you make when cold air hits your face.

A friend long ago told me something I take odd comfort in. “No one ever died with an empty in-box.” Our work is never done. That may sound dismaying but I find it comforting. No matter how hard I shovel, the ocean will not get smaller. Didn’t Dickens’ Marley describe his business as a mere drop in the ocean of humanity? We may retire from gainful employment and take pride in children well reared, but our tasks as spouse, citizen, neighbor, human, never cease.

"Service is the rent way pay for the space we occupy," to paraphrase Shirley Chisholm. So cheer up. All those tasks and chores you have to do, they are proof the world needs you. On a cold dark morning that may be all the encouragement you get, so make good use of it.

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