We have sun in Chicago on this Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. There are plenty of empty seats on the Metra train to the Loop today - many folks have begun their holiday break. I plan to try hard to be productive - it will be a challenge. I sometimes believe that the hardest part of working is trying to make it happen when you are distracted, bored and tired. This is what I am today.
At 4:48 A.M., my alarm clock began to grind. I stumbled into my workout clothes and made it to the McGaw YMCA at about 5:13 am. As I walked in, the desk guy, Tom, handed me a Christmas card. Now this is a guy who is at that Y desk every day by 4:15 am. He is unfailingly cheerful, greets everyone by name, and usually has a clever/amusing comment to toss our way as we trudge through the turnstyles. Tom is a paunchy guy with meager white fringe on his head and a luxurious white beard. He shaves his beard about once every 4 months - it is a terrifying to see his naked face. Tom brings light into many lives without thinking about it.
So I lifted weights today. Fifty year old weightlifters suffer quite a bit more than twenty-five year old weightlifters. My lats ache and my bones are tired. I have bought into the theory that exercise is the fountain of youth. Maybe this is true. But I feel quite aged after I have pushed myself through the weight routine.
I had to turn away from today's news - push it away. The horror, the horror! We are coming up on the birthday of Jesus Christ, and people are dying in large groups in many locations - 24 Americans in Iraq today. I am not a political idealogue; I listen with amazement at my liberal and conservative friends and their firm positions. George Bush may be wrong; he may be right. But right or wrong, the suffering is very hard to bear. And the Iraqis take the heaviest blows - murdered by their fellow Iraqis. Sadam's evil spirit still is creating havoc in Iraq. There is hard pounding going on - who can pound the longest?