A Turn


Researching and writing are good for my soul, although the substance of what I advance for your consideration often weighs a ton and is draped in black. It is true:  I can be a saturnine fellow. Perhaps I am the fifth horseman of the apocalypse without realizing it.

Yet I take satisfaction in the awareness that I have been candid with my readers, even at the risk of often being perceived as brittle and harsh. I was not, nor will I ever, be popular. I remain hopelessly out of step with the spirit of the times in which we live, and I usually feel like little more than a resident alien.  Reading of other times gives me perspective, and writing provides a means of opening the windows of my soul to others.  I am thankful for having had the opportunity to do both.

The time has now come for me to embark upon another venture.  I have accepted an invitation to research and to write for a Texas appellate court.  It will be a demanding challenge, but I am sure to love every moment of it.  The cases will involve real people and real controversies.  I am hoping that, in at least a small way, I will make a positive difference in someone's life.

Moving to another part of the State, making new friends and acquaintances, worshipping at another church, and walking a road that I have never before traveled will be uncomfortable, but I am convinced that it is the right thing for me to do.  My wife Lynn will be joining me in a few months.

I have learned that life is inherently tragic.  Choices are delimiting.  Even when they are good ones, they keep other potentialities, which may be equally good, from being actualized. We each walk down an uncertain pathway on our journey, wondering what would have been in store for us had we chosen another.  I think of Robert Frost, pictured above.  He once wrote a brilliant poem, entitled "The Road Not Taken," in which he expressed this mystery of life far more poignantly than I can.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I believe in God, and I believe that for those who love him, everything works out for the best.  Life would be a nightmare of cruel chance, a mere game of Russian roulette, in the absence of the providential hand of deity.  Nobody can see around a corner, and that is where my life is about to happen.  I trust that God is leading me (and will meet me) there.

While my independent efforts as an author will be temporarily suspended, my experience as a senior staff attorney for an appellate court will not be impoverishing by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet I will always remain, united in spirit, with those who wish to strengthen American society and political life in accord with the philosophical outlook I have described in America Unraveling and in my blogs.  But, in the meantime, life goes on, and it is incumbent upon each of us to make it better for everyone than it was when we entered its stream.

"So faith, hope, charity abide, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 

January 10, 2009