Rear-view Mirror


I turned 59 last week. I was born in a leap year that saw:

  • Albert Schweitzer win the Nobel Peace Prize
  • MAD magazine appear on newsstands
  • The first hydrogen bomb detonated
  • The contraceptive pill introduced
  • Transistor radios invented
  • Polio vaccine developed

By chronological mile markers, 59 is on the backside of the mountain. The summit lies at some point in the past and it’s hard to recall what can no longer be seen in the rear-view mirror.William Wordsworth wrote, “The child is the father of the man,” but we forget what the child was like. The neuro-pathways to those early memories are overgrown. But I have an old road map to my younger days in the form of journals I started keeping when Richard Nixon was president.

The Chinese have a saying, “The weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory.” The same applies to the lead in a number 2 pencil, which is what I used to write my first of 34 journals. I titled it, In Search of God. Here’s the opening entry:

October 11, 1970

I am starting this journal to find out about myself and through myself to find God. I hope that I can one day share this with someone. Maybe through my search for inner contentment and holiness others may find a clue in their own search. This will be the real Mike Hamel. This is what it is like on the inside with myself . . .

Forty-one years later I’m still at it:

still trying to find out about myself and God,
still searching for inner contentment and holiness,
still sharing that search with others.

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