Approximately one year ago I found myself frantically driving through an unfamiliar part of the world. Late for a memorial service for my friend Bobby Villanueva, I barged in the wrong door once I finally arrived. I wish people had cared more about my faux pas, because that would mean what they were there for wasn’t all that important. Unfortunately it was, and in seconds I was forgotten, left to stand awkwardly by myself in a place I figuratively and literally didn’t want to be.
Life and death has been on my mind a lot lately. My cousin Philip recently died, the anniversary of Bobby’s death is days away, and the brother of a good friend is fighting a tough battle against cancer. On the other side of things, I adore my friend’s new son, I’m starting to travel more, the days are getting longer, and people I love are getting married.
At one such wedding this past weekend my friend’s lovely wife (and mother of four) scolded me for even considering whether or not I should have kids someday. I drifted momentarily to Iran and Israel planning to blow each other up because they don’t agree about what happens to the soul after they blow each other up, and about that time a pretty girl smiled at me from across the room. It was a strange moment to be my brain.
Driving home after the wedding at 3 a.m. through very uncommon sleet, I tried putting all of this together. Why are we here? Where are we going? Why is my friend in a grave while I prepare to travel to Europe? Barely able to stay awake and mesmerized by the streaks of white slip-sliding at the corners of my vision, I didn’t come to any new conclusions.
Although not a religious person, I’ve always enjoyed reading Ecclesiastes. I intentionally went to the same place I did a year ago when Bobby died to remind myself that–like the book says–there is nothing new under the sun; there’s a time to die, and a time to be born. And while I live and Bobby died, the rocks before me have witnessed the same parade since the foundations of the earth. My sorrow is nothing new.
I often have a desire to live forever, but I suspect that if I did life would become incredibly tedious. Experiences are sweet because life is short, and in our short time all things are novel.
Before driving away I lingered for a moment in self-pity about all sorts of things, but quickly moved past it. Let the rocks pity me; I have smiles to return, friends to remember, and a life to live.
I only took a few photos today, partially because a man randomly started talking to me about Kony 2012, and partially because I was short on time. The next posts from Europe should have lots more.