Last night I was cleaning out my nightstand and saw an email from an old friend which had his current address on it and a sarcastic note telling me that it was the second time he was sending me his snail-mail address and that I ought to put it somewhere safe. It made me laugh–and then want to connect with him again. So, I did what most of us might do, I googled him and found, sadly, that he had died 1 year ago!
You might be able to tell we weren’t that close of late. In fact, we were close only for a short time. I met him in college and we became instant friends. He had an intensity and sarcastic humor that I loved and dreaded. Time with him was never dull. He taught me about great food and about the downtrodden. I think when I met him he was fighting for the imprisoned pastors in Russia.
Actually, I had met him in the sandbox as a kid in Nova Scotia (those of you reading this blog for a while may remember the previous banner pic of an oceanview, practically taken from the sandbox). So, we hit it off well as college students–until I offended him 2 years later. I think he didn’t speak to me for at least a year (I kicked him out of my room at 2 am when he wanted to tell me all about a breakup). A year later we were both in Israel for school and so we tried, mildly successfully to rekindle our friendship. Another year later we were both in Philadelphia and had a few good times. He introduced me to my lovely wife.
But then our relationship soured as he became increasingly angry. He left the area, even the country and we had little contact. He was involved in underground work to elevate the plight of Palestinians to the American people. He came out of the closet. When he found out I married Kim without inviting him, he never really forgave me. I should have but I assumed we were on the outs and he wasn’t even in the country.
We tried to find a way to relate despite his complete rejection of Christianity and even antagonistic attack of everything he once stood for. I think we did alright at first but then it faded away.
This man was the brightest, most eloquent, critical thinker I’ve ever known. His bitterness had an impact during the time I knew him but I’m hoping he overcame that. But, I’m saddened at the loss of his fight for the downtrodden and his persistent belief that true Christianity was to be rejected as always and only fake. I think he was able to separate bad examples of Christianity from Christianity itself but I”m not sure.
I wish I could have just one more conversation and to enjoy a good laugh with him.