I sat in a window seat of my Grad School building waiting for a ride from Adam. The sun had sunk so far into the horizon that the timid stars began to return from hiding.
It was a night like this, two weeks ago, that I got the call that John had died. I heave a sigh and wait.
Adam comes and we drive in his car to my parking garage. You could say I’m lazy not to walk the four blocks on my own. Or you could say I’d rather take advantage of a friend with a car than to brave the dark cold streets of Indianapolis.
Tonight in class we discussed the number of deaths from bicycle accidents in Indianapolis and how the city could try and lower the death rate.
Is it a coincidence? All I can think of is the dark road John was riding on when a car took his life. I tell Adam and he silently listens. For some reason his response is refreshing. I don’t feel choked up. I don’t feel panicked. I don’t feel the cloud that usually descends when I mention John’s name. But then again, I didn’t actually say his name. For to say his name makes it all the more real.
Adam tells me he’s looking for a church where he belongs. He asks if I ever feel like I can’t find community in the church.
Yes. I did a year ago. But that’s not where my mind goes.
I remember standing in the parking lot after a soccer game. It was not a month before Johnny died. He wanted to talk, so I stuck around even though my feet were swollen and hurting. Drops of sweat rolled down his face as he twisted an empty water bottle in his hands.
He told me he was searching for where God wanted him to be. So I told him to ask God to give him a sign. He took my advice with a slow nod, and I was surprised at his openness. Usually he was so guarded around me.
We talked for maybe an hour and when I left I hugged him, maybe, I don’t remember. I just recall how precious that moment was as the sky behind him was painted with orange and pink colors, as the kids in the park punted soccer balls into the goals, as we stood, the two of us, friends since childhood, trying to figure out life together.
My mind returns to the intersection with Adam and he’s asking me which street to turn down. I say go left, and we laugh because I’m pointing to the right.
I feel as if every guy or girl in their early twenties is searching for a place to belong.
Johnny, like Adam, was searching. In his life I worried for him, I wanted him to find that place. In his death I know God had him where he was supposed to be. I write these words to myself as well. In this life we are always searching, but let us not be distraught. God has our days numbered. We will all soon expire. Let’s make the most and live fully in the days to which we are assigned.