This past Thursday, I attended the marriage of two friends at the DC Superior Court. Two deeply individualistic guys, they are; and somehow, despite so many odds that most of us couldn’t wrap our heads around, they found each other. It was humbling to stand as their witness and bear their rings. After all, the goings-on of the day-to-day can seem to serve up struggle and pain as though effortless—in case, I suppose, all the joys and triumphs begin to feel arbitrary, inevitable or expected. In any case, this day was joyous and triumphant in the most wonderfully mundane of ways. But it certainly didn’t feel arbitrary, inevitable or, even, expected.
I got back to my hotel in Dupont Circle late on Thursday to the news that David Carr had died. I’ve followed Mr. Carr for years, and in fact was booked on an early Friday morning train back to New York to make a meeting with the Times. Talk about ‘all things all at once’, about the need to find the space to rest with the good and the bad, the work and the personal, the sacred and the profane…
It’s not easy. Especially when it comes to my commitments to work and my personal life. When the disparity seems at its widest—when the gulf between the time I have for one thing or another, versus the time I feel as though I have for any of it, seems at its widest—that’s when the darkness rolls in, and the pall of busy-ness becomes debilitating. Bitterness comes to the fore. Old angers feel new again.
This conflict of perception often feels like one of authenticity, of mindfulness of what is, versus what might be. Or what was. Or how I interpret what was. Or how I obsess over what might never be.
As David Carr wrote, reflecting on the less triumphant chapters of his life, “I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.”