12 years ago, we were the fathers of toddlers. Midweek we would tuck them in quickly, saddle up, and stretch our legs against the chainwheel press, searching for new corners, new quadrants, new haunts. In these early days, we shouted loud into deserted streets, a defiant spirit building among us, a camaraderie of invincibility in our ranks. In those nights, rainy or dry, warm or frozen, the matter of clocks was a ruse, taking its sobering toll only in the distance of the next afternoon.
But, after all these years, despite our efforts to out-race it, time has caught up. And with it, consequences of greater portent. For all of us, 2017 was a rude awakening. It was the year that the american politic was co-opted by forces we should have seen coming. We saw the erosion of truth by those who divorced the dream from the ethics that gave it its meaning. We spent most of the year shaking our heads in astonished sarcasm. It was a year of shock, sadness, helplessness, and fear. This national crisis provided an uncertain backdrop for us to parade our lives in front of. We found our cycling legs less willing, our minds less strident, and our bodies less able. We were tested by time, wounded by loss, and surprised by health’s impermanence. Presence was maintained, but tainted by conspicuous absence. With each passing Tuesday, 2017 became a year of deeper concern.
So now here we are in our finery, not protected as we once were by the boastful cries against the night. We stand transparent, our vulnerability just below the surface, weary soldiers against a new dark. We seek profundity in our new condition. Wisdom and grace have become necessary bedfellows, as we heal the wounds of nostalgia’s double-edged sword. We are slower.. We are older. We are indeed more frail. We must look further inside to build strength. We must reach further out to make gains. There will be no return to invincibility, but together we can and will brace against the storm. This new year must and will be a herald of recovery and rehabilitation, of reconnection and resolve. To this a toast to each and every, a toast to all. No father left behind. Long live the TFC.