Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Herald-Times:
"I confess that I am a very old man, measured in miles travelled, and in demands made on me to deliver the most recent electronic devices available, whether they consist of a writhing/talking doll, or a 'Game Box' of some particular brand name. We certainly have come a long way from the days of simple wooden toys whose workings were immediately discernable, yet infinitely fascinating. If my visit helped a sick or needy child, the miles and the years rolled back as if by magic, and I was instantly renewed.
"This precious event has become rarer and rarer, until I think there is no longer anyone like Virginia O'Hanlon. You may recall that she wrote to your paper in 1897 to seek advice on the question of my own existence. I have likewise come to doubt her existence. It is difficult to reconcile the image of sweet, innocent Virginia with the recent TV pictures of women trampling one another to secure a place in line at Wal-Mart.
"My wonderful wife, who is attuned to my every mood, suggested that I write your editor for guidance in this matter. She says, 'The Herald-Times always knows.' Please tell me the truth: Is there a Virginia?
Dear Mr. Claus,
Consider yourself lucky to have such a wife. Her journalistic intuition is without equal. Doubt and skepticism are necessary in our jaded age, but are entirely unwarranted in this matter. There are those who cannot believe anything they have not seen with their own eyes. If they did not read it in USA Today, or see it on CNN or on a movie screen, it must not be real. Yet, we are surrounded by the evidence of a greater truth, if we will but see it.
When we first awaken, do we immediately remember who our enemies are?
Who are we supposed to hate?
How much money would we accept in exchange for our loved ones? How much would we offer?
Do we hurt when we see others in pain? Including animals?
Do we not see a better world for our children? Why do we work, struggle and sacrifice for it, although we do not see our situation improving in the never-ending chaos and fearful uncertainty presented in the media?
"The good news is, you're going to die — the bad news is, not for another 40 years." Can we accept that as the punch line of a joke, or is it a tragic reality? Can it be both?
We do not have the answers to these questions. Age brings with it more questions, not more answers. Maybe the questions get better.
Almost certainly, the punch lines do.
The answers are in our hearts, right next to the questions. Search your heart for Virginia. She is there, ever a precious question.