I read yesterday morning that a friend of mine lost her 20 year old son. I don’t know how or when or why, and I never met Robert, but I can’t stop thinking about my friend. How I knew Lindy when she and I were twenty.
Lindy and I learned how to play a little guitar together freshmen year at Miami; we both had a crush on Dan Fogelberg. She brought home some ducklings and we all played with them (on the sly) on the first floor of McBride Hall. We hiked out the Pine Groves a time or two and I think we slept there overnight. She was a sorority sister for a couple semesters. Her little sis was my best pledge class buddy. Lindy was like me just enough to make us friends, and different enough to make me admire her. That’s always the best combination. Similarity with stretch.
And as I followed her on Facebook, she’s become a remarkable woman. A farmer – horses, alpacas, llamas. An incredibly skilled artist in at least two mediums, fiber and photographer. A teacher. A great mother, a great wife.
I have no idea how this must feel. I wish I knew what to do other than to send love.
A few years ago, I took an intro to Buddhism class at River’s Edge. We read and discussed the idea of our one precious life. How knowing death is eminent, no matter how many years away, makes us more acutely focused on living. The blessing of life came radiating through as an idea.
One of my best friends works in hospice and, because of the nature of her work, the blessing of life comes shooting through as reality every single day.
So, today, for Lindy and Robert, I want to give up the false notion that I have time. I have said, for years and years, when I move to the west, when I go on that cross country trip, when I get to Selma and walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge, when I save enough money, when I __________________. I could fill that blank with a hundred other phrases.
When the security of my job does not matter, I will speak to _________________. When I feel better, I will ___________________.
I have gotten better about wasting time over the years, having lost the kind of anger that makes no sense: the kind driven by gossip, by other people’s business, by the addition of a task or demand I did not anticipate. I will not waste energy or fuel disdain over such small inconveniences like I see so manner other doing. I’m trying to work from a stance of acceptance. I was never born to be a radical. My bravery – when activated – is small, slow and steady.
This notion about not wasting time does not mean that I’m about to get in my car and zoom down to Alabama to check something off my bucket list. It is snowy, very cold, and I am fairly sure that I will lay on the couch and cozy up in a good blanket to watch the end of the democratic debate. And, maybe, if the snow slows, I will do what I normally do: go to a movie, eat some popcorn and a big jug of diet coke.
But maybe I can realize the blessings in even these simple things. The fact that I live in a country where a woman, a socialist, a billionaire, a second generation immigrant can run for the most powerful position in the world. And I will be thankful for the “Life is good” blanket my brother gave me. And for my brother, who I will call because we do not speak together enough. And I will listen to music, music I love, including Dan Fogelberg. And I will think about Lindy, my eyes welling, and I will give thanks for this woman – who, while not a huge part of my life – surely formed who I am. And my tight little heart will break for hers which is now cracked wide open.
And if I go to that movie, I will look the clerk in the eyes and smile when I greet him – the one that looks like Ashton Kutcher, who is about twenty – and I will wish him a good day. What else do we have to give each other than kindness? What else can we do but to be gracious, drop by drop, in this short wondrous time we call our life?
I must give up nonchalance and be more alert, even the tiniest bit, trying to remember that this is temporary – all of it — and we are lucky just to be here.
Rest in peace, Robert. I love you, Lindy.