IBJOpinion

HETRICK: Moving on and starting over in life, art and politics

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Bruce Hetrick

When my cell phone rang a few days ago, I figured it was a campaign volunteer wanting me to vote early or donate money. Or a student wanting to set up office hours. Or a salesperson touting some once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

But the call brought bad news.

A friend, a woman in her mid-40s, had lost her husband: a man of 46, a father of three, a former college football player, and a strapping fitness buff. He’d died suddenly just a few days after the couple’s wedding anniversary.

My caller, a mutual friend, said it was an embolism or blood clot. She thought I’d want to know.

Suddenly, political campaigns and college students and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities didn’t matter much.

The next evening, my wife and I attended opening night of a world-premiere play called “The House That Jack Built” at the Indiana Repertory Theatre.

We never see the title character in James Still’s Thanksgiving story. Like the absent father in Tennessee Williams’ “A Glass Menagerie” or the dead college friend in the film “The Big Chill,” Jack is ever-present but never seen. He’s the undertow.

Throughout this funny and poignant play, Jack’s widow, his mother and his sister are each struggling, in their own way, to deal with Jack’s death and move on.

Jules, Jack’s widow, tells of the extraordinary measures she’s taken to keep Jack’s spirit alive and in her life—including seeing a shaman.

“I thought all this meant that I would rescue Jack,” says Jules. “That I might bring him back, like some Greek myth.”

“Poor Jack,” says Jack’s mother, Helen. “He must have wondered what to do.”

“What do you mean?” says Jules.

“I wanted him to stay put so I’d be able to find him when I got to heaven. And all the while you were trying to bring him back. He must have wondered what to do. Jack. ‘Should I stay or should I go?’”

“Maybe it’s the living who haunt the dead,” says Jules.

“But you didn’t bring him back,” says Lulu, Jack’s sister.

“Turns out it wasn’t Jack who needed rescuing,” says Jules. “It was me. I had to bring myself back from the dead.”

“How?” asks Lulu.

“I had to start all over again, from the very beginning. Slowly. Quickly. Quietly. Loudly.”

And so it is for everyone in Jack’s life. Trying to move on. Struggling to start over.

Someday, my friend who lost her husband will have to move on and start over. Once upon a time, I did too.

After the election Tuesday night, many of my friends on Facebook and some of the pundits and politicians I follow on Twitter spoke of starting over.

Some who supported Mitt Romney were bitter.

Some who supported Barack Obama were giddy.

But many saw not a chance to gripe or gloat, but rather to move on and start over on shared challenges.

“The nation, as you know, is at a critical point,” said Mitt Romney in an eloquent concession speech delivered in Boston. “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

Ever the business advocate, he called on “job creators of all kinds” “to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.”

Moving on. Starting over.

In his Chicago victory speech that followed, Barack Obama delivered a similar message.

“In the coming weeks and months,” Obama said, “I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests,” he said. “We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.”

Moving on. Starting over.

On election night, some of my preferred candidates won. Three of my dear friends lost. But despite our often-nasty electoral process and our Rube Goldberg governance model, I’m grateful to live in a nation with peaceful transitions of power and broad participation by all who choose to partake.

Now, like the characters in James Still’s “The House That Jack Built,” we have to get over it. We have to move on.

As my friend who’s lost her husband and her children who’ve lost their father will now learn; as Jack’s family had to learn; as I once learned, life is too short for grudges and sour grapes, for backstabbing and obstruction.

It’s time to move on. It’s time to start over. It’s time to make like Jack and build this house together.•

__________

Hetrick is an Indianapolis-based writer, speaker and public relations consultant. His column appears twice a month. He can be reached at bhetrick@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT