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Harry Chapin is my kind of philosopher. The world is a confusing place, and I’m just a flawed human being struggling to make sense of it. Sometimes, I think I’ve got it figured out. Then something happens that proves to me—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that I don’t, and I probably never will. Still, I keep trying. Why is that?

I recall from my studies in math that a circle is made up of an infinite number of arcs. Watch a child weave a friendship bracelet, a circle composed of strand after strand of colorful thread—individual arcs that overlap and intertwine. Together, they form a strong, cohesive whole. I know that every thread has a beginning and an end, but I can’t make them out, any more than Harry could. In the circle we call Life, each little arc—the track of one specific life—blends with many others.

Such is the arc of Jem’s life.

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