In the course of one’s life, there are probably just a handful of days that one can truly point to as being a turning point – a day where the entire trajectory of one’s life changes, for better or for worse. Graduation, marriage, the birth of a child, an anniversary, the death of a loved one – all of these milestones come to mind.
For me, one year ago today was such a day. And at the time, it seemed like such a mundane occurrence. It began with a phone call, and it wasn’t even a call that came to me. It was the just the kind of call that one gets in the course of a regular work day – seemingly simple questions, with seemingly simple answers. But nothing in life is really simple. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
I think of the things that have happened in the year since that phone call, and in a way I’m almost in awe of the weird and crazy turns that life can take. Some might be tempted to say that it was God’s plan. And if that is truly the case, then all I can say is that God must be a fan of dark comedies – or perhaps a fan of John Irving novels. Because what has happened over the course of the past year feels to me like a John Irving novel. There has been sadness bordering on tragedy; there have been heroes and heroic moments; there have been funny moments; and there have been villains – people who fashioned themselves as crusaders on behalf of the public good, but in fact were without honor or shame.
As a direct result of that phone call, good things have happened to me – things that I could not have imagined a year ago. And bad, sometimes very bad things, have happened – things that I could not have imagined a year ago. Very little has been drawn in black and white; nearly all of it is washed in shades of grey.
The vast majority of people who read this will have no idea what I’m talking about, and perhaps consider me guilty of self-indulgence. And perhaps that is true. But on the other hand, I feel justified in saying - you had to be there.