One of my favorite gifts this Christmas was a flashlight. A big, bludgeon of flashlight, with different settings to widen my perspective on those things that slither or growl in the dark. My son Jonathan gave it to me along with an overkill of other cautionary gifts: a snakebite kit, a gas can for the car, tire repair equipment, hand warmers, a flare, and a portable first aide kit. It was as if he was preparing me for a worse case scenario, or an expedition to some wilderness of my own making.




I’m back in Jacksonville now, but I still feel distant and removed and even a bit endangered. There are some glimmers of true happiness shining dimly on my horizon, but I am not there yet. The light seems to be getting brighter: not every day like walking toward some beacon, but off and on (one day enlightened the next day darker and more melancholy), like a dicky setting on Jon Jon’s flashlight.


Perhaps every thinking person feels this way when contemplating the future soberly…


I am hopeful that one day my way will be lit without all the false steps. I am working toward making the right decisions and it makes me more cautious, but also more afraid than I have ever been. I finally realize that a bottle of wine and the kindness of strangers does not always work. That even though the darkness is lit, there are things beyond the arc of the light that wait…


Today I’m not drinking because I’m lighting the way?


How come you’re not drinking?