Genuine friends, genuine soul.
While Facebook is a fantastic tool for keeping in touch, it’s a very poor system for evaluating the quality of a friendship; for that task you need something far more tangible; EX: when you have a friend that is there to apply the bandages you so desperately need when certain events in life cause you grievous harm, not flinching over the blood getting on their hands (beyond it’s ability to cause you, the victim, any further harm) or when they provide you the tissue with one hand, the other firmly grasping your shoulders, supporting your weight when you can’t stand up to entertain gravity no longer, well then you’ve found a true friend. The truest kind in fact.
We so often collect “friends” like baseball cards, not only online, but also in real life, trading them as they come and go, through the natural sojourns of our life…their value increasing or decreasing as the seasons of life pass, as our evaluations of other people and ourselves naturally ebb with the flow and tide of circumstance and chance, and I’m struck with how pointless so many of these unions really become in the end, so many not being bonded by blood, nor the mutual shedding of sweat and tears; these “friendships” are free to fade away without the emotional ties that make a struggle for persistence worthwhile, regardless of outside situations.
I’ve been in some very dark places in my life, at some points blinded against any light at all, devoid of any hope, and it was in the harsh stillness of the worse of these moments, trying to catch my breath, the world spinning around me, wondering if I should even bother to keep trying to breath, that a true friend became evident in my life, on a level that I had never personally known, his voice cutting through the muted muddle of my shattered heart, dealing with a breakup I couldn’t possibly end up surviving by myself, reduced to a babbling fool uncertain of my station and even my right to a happy existence; that a co-worker at the time, one I started my career with at Geek Squad; my friend Don, helped me. He took the time to be a light for me, and shoulder this great burden with me, unwavering in his honestly, his bluntness and the remarkable aptitude for not “sugar coating” his words like virtually every else I’ve ever known would have done, was a real blessing. He was truly a “city on a hill” for me (Mat 5:14) in those most harrowing of black nights, guiding me to steady paths, hard to traverse but necessary, back into the world where I needed to live once again and to focus on actually LIVING again.
I’m moving to OH in a few days, to start the next step of my career, a new position with Geek Squad, working at home, and I’m acutely aware of a most painful element to leaving, and that is the physical separation from Don and his wonderful fiance Yushan. I will miss our late night video gaming sessions, our drinking/card games, our late night discussions on the creative and the philosophical or the deep and utterly agonizing parts of life that most strive to be silent and ignorant about, but that we refused to avoid and be weakened by, and the long walks around city blocks over and over again that usually accompanied these talks. Even as I know that true friends like this don’t just disappear, that it’s purely axiomatic that they CANNOT, the sheer distance between us of course won’t allow “hanging out” and something will need to take up that time in my life now, not as a replacement, never could anything replace this spiritual bond of true friendship, but as a place holder for that hole that will surely need to be patched. I dread even trying to fill that void though, not because I fear the loss of a friend, but because I simply value so much the time already spent.
Thank you Don for being the truest kind of friend, not only a “friend”, but a brother to me as I’ve lived, grown and sometimes completely floundered in California. You’ve personally seen darkness and felt it’s grasp on a level I can scarcely imagine, but even more impressive to me than your survival, is that despite it all, you’ve come to a place where you obviously have developed such a strong character, one that doesn’t boast of it’s quality to me or anyone, but simply IS, unapologetic and without excuse or explanation. You’ve firmly established a real moral purpose in your life and the people you choose to share it with, one that you always carry with you despite the renunciation of decency from so many other people in our day and age that proudly flaunt the sacrifice of principles for the sake of a hedonistic and selfish gain; your high standard of loyalty and fidelity that you adhere to in your closest relationships and your sheer unwillingness to speak half-ass about anything of importance (or perhaps anything at all); I respect more than my words could ever hope to convey.
…and thank you Yushan for welcoming so warmly me as your good friend too, and for falling asleep often while we all played video games and you still somehow managed to keep your character on the screen running ahead….rendered impotent in a fight, but always steadfast in its momentum! 🙂
Let this be a witness here and now, not written in a letter sitting in a drawer somewhere, obscured to the world, but on my blog for anyone close to me who fancies to read my posts, that although I know you both don’t have a (sibling) brother, I want you to know that; for all intents and purposes, as long as I still draw breath; YOU BOTH ALWAYS WILL.
With much love, and thanks.