I totally did this. Oh, the shame. Well, am not really sure which is worse-- downloading Journey because one hears it on Laguna Beach, or downloading Journey because one sincerely feels one's heartstrings tugged by the melodic stylings of Steve Perry and company.
To switch to a whole different kind of journey, I join the many people who mourn the passing of Peter Jennings today. Though I became a news junkie rather late in life (at least in comparison to fellow Washingtonians, many of whom have professed a pre-potty-training awareness of the Big Three anchors), I felt a special fondness for Mr. Jennings. He reminds me of that friend of your parents who you always found to be kind of handsome and harbored a very innocent childhood crush on, only you really liked him best because he listened to your youthful opinions and never talked down to you. He was given a dream job as lead anchor at the age of 26 and quit three years later because he knew he wasn't ready yet. Instead, he paid his dues with ten years on the road as foreign correspondent, striving to become worthy of the office he was offered free and clear.
What a class act. Can you imagine a 26-year-old today doing that? Yet look at all that he reported on. Apartheid. The construction and fall of the Berlin Wall. The Munich Olympics. The Oklahoma City bombings. Iraq. The search for Jesus. September 11. He was a man who sought to educate himself and his audience on the most pressing ideas and events that shaped our world. If I could go back in time and live somebody's life through his eyes, Peter Jennings would be in my top five.
His death is all the more sad because it is so senseless. This morning, NPR played the recording in which he announced his diagnosis of lung cancer and his regret for taking up smoking again after September 11. Hearing his courage in voicing his condition, voicing his anger with himself and the voicing the admission that he needed support and prayers just broke my heart. This is a man who has traveled the world over and seen more proof that life is worth living than most of us will ever dream of, yet he still could not conquer a habit that wound up cutting his life far too short.
Someone very dear to me has a similar habit, and I have only recently acknowledged to myself that it will probably take that person from me too soon. I don't know how to help, how to even offer to help, or whether any move on my part could help. I have always been about action, solutions to problems and finding a fix that will last. Today reminded me that there will always be things that one is powerless over, no matter how much we want to solve them. That sometimes, even we when win in the end, winning is not a one-time activity. Success over addiction, even if maintained for a lifetime, may still not be enough to repair the damage inflicted.