My age is catching up with me. There are things I can’t do anymore without feeling an icy shadow fall upon me, or, worse still, things that I cannot do at all. I don’t mean to be morbid, but time is winding down for me.

It’s terrifying, but I’ve made myself bear the thought of dying many times since I was fairly young. I’m not really that old, but I guess a lifetime of bad habits has taken more of a toll than I realized.

Instead of death, I now think about life. I try to comprehend it in its entirety. There has been good time and there has been bad time, but is it right to check the balance between them, to deem one more true than the other? I don’t know.

I think most people would say they hope the good outweighs the bad, and I think we all know someone who deems the negative to dominate, whether it does or not. In the spirit of kindness, I would wish the former for us, whether true or not. But it is harder to help those who subscribe to the latter.

It seems so easy to point out that much of human misery is a thing we impose upon ourselves. With a humble graciousness, we could say that anything is still better than nothing. This narrows to the idea that all is in the perspective, that a change of attitude might well change the whole world, at least for the individual.

But does this not come with a terrible caveat? Does it not imply that good things, that which we cherish and love and which awe us to wonder, are in turn nothing more than a product of our state of mind? Does it not suggest that what we care for has no meaning or value beyond the vault of our minds?

But, then again, is that so bad? Might it be that caring makes us wondrous? Would that not be a marvelous reason to care? In caring, we give meaning and value to that which a cold universe has no concern for?

Dare I say it? To create something out of nothing, is that not magic? And this is real, unlike the gilded promises of mystic frauds.

Whether it’s beating moves us to tenderness or whether it drives us to raise our voices in outrage, what matters more than for a heart to care? To care- the greatest gift one can give, to be cared for, the greatest to receive.

Now my heart weakens and the end is upon me. As I think of those so kind to me, my eyes blur. Would that these bitter tears bring me catharsis and peace.

For still I wonder, have I cared enough?


story by Joe Stanley

artwork danielsfotowelt

The Ghostly World Fictional Ghost Stories

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