I wish you were still around

Hey Mike.

Facebook is telling me it’s your birthday again.

I saw where everyone checked in on your page. Your family writes their ‘Happy Birthdays’ on your page every year, without fail. And every year I read them and sit here and despite my best efforts to the contrary, my eyes well up with water. That’s the one thing I hate about knowing you. I hate the wishing you were still around, part.

I have this crazy motorized bicycle. It’s an absolute death trap. Probably the worst decision I’ve ever made buying something.

You would have loved it.

I bought it sight unseen from the internet. Everything that has gone wrong with it, I’ve fixed using YouTube….

…your favorite.

Just today, when Facebook reminded me you were gone, I was sitting here in my office rebuilding the wheel so it could use motorcycle tires, instead of mountain bike tires. I was mad. The jerk wad at the bike store said what I was doing was too dangerous, and he wouldn’t help. So I went home and figured it out myself.

I burned up my data plan in the process, but the tire got built.

And I did it myself.  With my own tools, in my own garage.

Karen tells me when I get that way…all “YouTube-Intense”, that “I’ll figure it out”. Says, “You always do”. I’d wager Sandy said that to you also, when you had YouTube-Face.

 

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Things aren’t quite the same around here, and I wish you were still around to be honest.

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There’s been a few divorces since you left.  Another couple is separating a baseball’s toss from your old house.

I can still remember you standing in my doorway telling me how you were praying that Sandy’s real estate stuff would blow up. That she deserved every success. I could feel your hope for her like standing next to a fireplace. The warmth of that love. You were almost willing it into existence.  You were like a well wishing love-Yoda.

I hold that memory of you there that night…those 2 or 3 minutes – like some token in my pocket. A talisman that I squeeze every so often when the inevitable rocks invade life’s marital road. A “memory lighthouse”, maybe? I don’t know what to call it. . .

We were talking the other day about the people who really go to heaven. The ones that were really Christians, were the people who LOVED others. That LOVE was the material of eternity. If people were trees, the fruit of Jesus was LOVE apples. How people who love others leave indelible impressions on others. You feel it when they’re around you. And when they’re not, you feel that too. Maybe more so.

Most others are like the crazy neighbor lady next to me. The one who cut the oak tree down you were so fond of.

They just exist. Make no marks.

And when they leave, their memories vanish like some wispy morning fog on the river back here. And they are gone.

I won’t tear up someday if Facebook tells me it’s her birthday.

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I think a lot about what life will look like someday in the future. What will people do when Facebook tells them it’s my birthday, and I’m not here to see it. Will people tear up, or scroll past?

Will I have made the most of the last valuable lesson you taught –  in your departure?

That time is fleeting.

It moves forward, fiercely – sans mercy or discretion.

That every day breathing in and out, is a sacred gift. An opportunity to be loved, TO love, and someday hopefully be missed.

To be amazed by it all, and somehow be amazing inside of it all. Be remarkable.

In this, I aspire to be your disciple. Am trying to be.

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So that when you first see me, right after you know what. . .

to have beautiful and bountiful bruises from my children’s hugs.

…scars and grease all over my hands from stuff I probably shouldn’t have done, but did anyway.

……a moist spot on my forehead…on my lips, from one last kiss.

 

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I wish you were still around.

 

 

 

 

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