Facebook memories tells me it is seven years since I made the move back to Texas from my hometown of Los Angeles.
Some people have suggested they know why I came back and others have speculated but those blunt talks haven’t been as blunt as they could be.
I was intentional in the information I placed upon Facebook as I thought I might appreciate the opportunity to look back upon what was.
I was correct.
It is interesting to me to look upon some of this and connect some dots. I can see how certain things started 20 years ago and how other intersect at the 10 year mark.
Ten years since life changed and I made certain choices and decisions.
Seven years since I set in the motion the attempt to make some bigger changes and get some answers to certain questions.
Some of those have been answered and some are as of yet unknown.
I went to hear a survivor speak tonight and listened to her story told by a woman who still bears a European accent.
At 54 it is not an exaggeration to say I have heard at least 25 survivors tell their tales, maybe more. The war ended less than a quarter century before I was born.
It was my grandparents war and loomed so large upon the country and the world that it was impossible for it not be something my generation knew something about.
And if you were a Jewish kid with any sort of involvement in Jewish groups in the 70s and beyond you heard survivors tell their tales.
You heard our teachers, counselors and older folk tell us that we had to hear because one day there wouldn’t be any survivors left to tell the story.
We had to know it so that we could push back against the deniers and do our part to try and prevent such horrors from ever being repeated.
I knew as a kid and teenager the truth that one day the survivors would be gone but it is only during the last dozen years that it has really sunk in.
In part because my children haven’t had the same exposure I had. They have definitely been educated and are very aware but it is different.
In part because it is not their grandparents war, it’s their great-grandparents. They are a step removed and life never stops moving so there a million other things that have happened since.
So I went because it is important to let those who bore witness share their tale. The woman who spoke with us is 95.
Her tale started at 14 so she went through this form of hell as a teenager. She met one of the American soldiers that liberated her camp and that reminded me that time has taken most of the liberators too.
It won’t be all that long before those who were old enough to remember are gone and given some of what has been happening in the US and around the world that concerns me.
But it was never up to just them to keep the flame of memory lit, it has always been our responsibility too.
I shaved my head today and stared for a moment at the man looking back at me. There are a few more gray hairs upon my head and within my beard but I still see a somewhat youthful face.
If I had a full head of hair I would probably look younger but I am not going to take any pills to try and restore the hair that was lost nor wear a wig.
The time at the gym is slowly paying off though I suspect I might be the only one who can see it. Slowly there are cuts in my arm reappearing and that provides reason for a wry grin upon my face.
Because there are moments where I think about how hard and how long I have worked upon some things and wondered if I was gaining any ground.
Wondered if I was spinning my wheels and if it made sense to continue. I am stubborn, tenacious and relentless about some things and that doesn’t always serve as a useful trait.
Because there are times where you need to accept that you have done all you can and gone as far as you can go.
I felt like that for a moment this evening and wondered what the hell I was thinking.
Later the younger Mr. Wilner sat down to speak with me about some things and reminded me there is a long list of accomplishments, some particularly big ones that can be spoken of.
Seven years ago some of those were hopes and dreams, now they are reality. Sometimes you need to step back and consider.
Sometimes that moment of reflection is where you find your perspective.