My classmate and I stood outside the War Memorial building. We squinted from the misty air blowing in our faces and I could tell he wanted to stick around and talk—despite my obvious efforts to escape to my car. He and I had just attended the Festival of Faiths for a grad school assignment.
“Can I ask you a question?” he said, his words masked in a thick west African accent.
“Sure,” I replied with a shiver.
“What is the purpose of God?” Read More
My friend John was a silly guy. He liked to pull pranks and make us laugh. I remember him pouring water down my back one summer at a family barn party. I screamed as the icy drink soaked my shirt. My voice echoed through the barn up to the loft where kids were jumping from the rope swing. It was pretty embarrassing for a middle school girl. I still remember him laughing at me as he ran off with my brothers.
But he could also be serious and extremely competitive. In speech class we were put on different teams and somehow he lost the pro-life v. pro-choice argument. Later he confronted me on the issue asking how I could really support the apposing argument. To which I replied, “Come on John, it was just a debate.” But he was adamant about winning and we often argued about any and everything; movies, religion, whether or not girls should play football. Often it went on until I was in tears and he breathed a quiet apology for making me upset.
Today marks one year since his death. I remember when it happened, it was so hard to believe. It’s painful coming to terms with never seeing a loved one again, on this side of heaven. But somehow I’ve grown use to the idea that he’s up in heaven relaxing to the sound of his coffeemaker and watching the Colts game. I often wish he was here so I could tell him how big his niece is getting and how cute she’s become. “Being an uncle is the best,” he once told me. I jealously listened wondering if my siblings would ever have kids.
Shortly before he died we talked about growing up and how hard it was to be adults. Our close friend had found a significant other and we realized life was changing quickly.
“I sometimes wish I was Peter Pan,” he texted me one night, in jest. I laugh at it now, though sad he didn’t live the life we expected, I feel he was granted the relief of a short life.
Over the last year I’ve felt pains of adulting to the utter worst. Many times I just wanted to call John and tell him how annoying life was: my car accident in January, my final exams for graduate school, the long hot days of summer where I sorely needed a vacation. He was a good listener and had a high sense of empathy. “I totally get that,” he’d say whenever I complained to him, his eyebrows knit together in genuine concern.
He died last October in a sudden turn of events. I’d never guess it would be this way, but life never is—so they tell me. I feel a peace in all the love my friends and family have rendered. There is comfort in community, especially in times of hardship.