What can I fear that has not befallen me?
Should I say my greatest fear is that harm come to my family? That I should lose my home and country? That I should become invalid, my health broken, that I should lose my work and live in pain because of it? That I should live without respect, reviled? That I should lose my best friend?
That has already come to pass. All of it.
I do not fear death, exactly. I do not want to die, necessarily. That has been said of me too, but I did and do refute it.
I am invalid, and that perhaps is a clue. I will turn it to a wry pun, for such is given to me - a philosopher become a caustic wit. What I fear most is not having a reason to live. Reasons spring seemingly eternal. But they are for me not constant, not bound by place, either geographic or circumstantial. I am itinerant, and often unwanted. Reasons spring seemingly eternal, and they have always done so for me. I have mixed in anything that came along, simply to hold back the reality of this fear. Whereas for others, in an absence of emergency, there is peace, loved ones, cheer, camaraderie, the turn of seasons and a slow building of community for the future, for me there is emptiness. And I fear it. Usual circumstances are for me a nightmare life in death. What is one to do with them, with no place, no connection, an outsider always, by necessity of profession, health, chosen solace, association, perhaps even background?
Of course one yearns for right and peace to prevail, and end to pain. And I want it as much as anyone - more perhaps. I feel its lack keenly. An affront to a Lady, to a child, to a quiet town, a hardworking farmer, a gentleman. An affront to a friend. It is grievous insult to me, to all I hold dear. How dare anyone disturb their quiet, their innocence, their work for the future? I become incensed. And yet. These affronts provide a place for me - a chance for heroism, even if it is only internal heroism, unseen by any save myself. A chance for place in protection, vengeance, upholding what is right. And I am useful, alive if invisible. And I have a reason to live. And my own pride fills me with vigour of spirit if not body - a silent shout of victory and grace.
It is a conundrum. What if I am left in peace, to deal my cards, patience and poker, coughing brutally in the mornings, nursing fever in the evenings, whiskey to ease my pain? No home, no kind hand to comfort me, no friendly ear to whom I might give my aid or dreams and principles and visions. I would disappear, fade, and yet, without death, live on and on, with no reason and no contribution, a help to none, not building the future or a better world. Not even taking from the world, allowing others to contribute and have reason for pride. Just being, untouching and untouched.
That is my greatest fear, and any day it could come to pass. And the terrible irony is that I can only in good conscience wish it.Name: John Henry Holliday, DDS
Word Count: 553.
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Nulli Virtute Secundus