Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Gods Wait to Delight

Tonight amongst the fireworks, champagne and chrouses of Auld Lange Syne, the year 2014 will quietly slip into 2015. There are better read retrospectives to 2014 than this meager effort, but endings should bring reflection and introspection. There ought to be a snapshot of the joy, failure and change the year brought.

Loss is an important event in everyone's life.

Judge Kenneth Keeling died this past October. At the time, Shane Phelps wrote a eulogy remembering Judge Keeling in in his blog, The Atticus Files. The post can be found here. I cannot improve on Shane's moving tribute.

Judge Keeling presided over a Capital Murder case in which I participated as a defense lawyer. The case mis-trialed in January 2013, and remains pending. I cannot (justifiably) write about the case. I can, however, write how I mourn his passing. The trial was an intense few months which changed me.

One thing popular culture can do is remind us of things lost to us, or perhaps just tucked away in our consciousness. Suddenly, there it is in a different sort of context, waiting to be remembered, savored and enjoyed yet again. So, when I saw the movie Interstellar earlier this month and listened to Micheal Caine recite in his distinctive cockney voice Dylan Thomas' Do not go gentle into that good night, the dark theater became for me not a place of movie experience, but a space for homage to Judge Keeling.
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
 So before we lean far into 2015 and the changes it will inevitably bring, remember how 2014 shaped life. The people met, lost and how they sculpted each of us. Remember experiences both delighting and frustrating. We will never see their like again.

Charles Bukowski (The Laughing Heart) wrote it better than I ever could:
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
Goodbye, Judge Keeling.

A scholarship was established in Judge Keeling's name by his family. The pertinent information is at the end of the story here. Consider giving generously.

And for the rest? A toast:

.May the Gods delight in all of you in 2015. Salud!

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