Never Forget: A Tribute
Tribute to a friend now gone
Gone too soon
It is almost midnight on a cold Friday night. A gentle snow falls outside in marked contrast to the spring-like weather that graced the Midwest during the last few days. Lights brighten every room in my house, but I am alone.
How can I describe the thoughts inside my head? I see the world much differently in light of the changes I’ve lived through in the last few years. So much has happened, and I am at a loss to know how to proceed. In the past, I would seek counsel from an old friend who shared many an adventure with me over the years: a friend now gone since his death, almost four years ago—his advice vanished with him.
I have spent the last two hours pouring through his old letters and journals, searching for answers. While reading correspondence dating back more than thirty years, I am reminded of my friend’s tremendous intellect and gentle wisdom. He was also a gifted writer, although he did not realize it. There was a lyrical quality to his work that he did not suspect. He was a natural leader and could be quite inspirational when he wished.
I debated whether to write about him this evening, wondering if providing a peek into the soul of this visionary genius might be seen poorly by those who knew him—after all, I do not wish to violate the privacy of his wife and children. I am convinced he wished to be remembered, however, and in that spirit I offer this humble tribute: a brief, random collection of “quotes” from his letters and journals. He wrote for his own benefit, but inspired everyone around him.
“…You must check out the Humboldt Range in Northern Nevada, the Lower Sonoran Zone, British Columbia in the fall and Cambridge in the spring.” --1975--
“…There’s one final bridge to be crossed that will determine whether we make it or we don’t.” --1976--
“…My pilgrimage is far from over, but it begins to take some kind of discernable shape.” --1980--
“…I want people to look back at my life and be inspired by what we do. I want to be changed as a result. I want to help build a culture that has not been seen before.” --1981--
“…The city should be a garden where the seeds of ideas, creativity and curiosity can be planted, nurtured and brought to full bloom or weeded out as needs be done.” --1983--
“…I’m living in the best years of my life so far.” --1989--
“…We need more than survival skills to be complete human beings, we need prosperity skills. One I have, the other I need to work on.” --1993--
“…I don’t know that the garden awaits but Greater Purpose certainly does. That is not a battle to be won, but rather to be lived with in constant awareness of its incredible power. I am up to the task. I must make certain the rest of us are, too. –1994--
“…Life continues to train me with gentle ferocity…nothing less than all I have to give is required to achieve all that I work for.” --1995--
“…I just want to reach a point where the mundane problems are solved and the people I care for can be happy.” --2001—
“..From all lands and places he comes, the one who looks inside your heart and knows what dwells there. He cares not how much darkness resides within, for he knows that in the beginning and in the end, we are all beings of light. He has plumbed the depths of the dark and bound it to the earth. He has saved the lost souls from possession. He journeys toward a transcendent future and the unification it holds. Angels guard him and demons serve in fear. He stands at the gates of the City of Men. He welcomes all with an open heart to join in the song that is Bensalem.” --2006--
It is extremely important to have someone in our lives we can look to for advice, support or inspiration—someone who believes in us. We might turn to God, a priest or minister, a friend, a teacher, or a co-worker. We might perhaps look to a family member, be it a brother or sister, a parent or grandparent. Whoever they are, they pick us up when we are down, exhort us to look inside when we doubt ourselves, and are happy for us when we do well. I can no longer turn to this friend for support and advice, but he continues to inspire me. His passion for life, his love for his family and friends, and his integrity in dealing with people still touches me. Long ago I was once referred to by someone who needed my help as a Realized Master. I am not—but my friend was.
(It is hard to believe my friend has been gone for four years. I still miss the guy.......)
Several years have passed since the death of my friend, and I still mourn. I can't really describe how the lack of his presence has affected me because, after all these years, life goes on. Not for him, of course, but for me. For all of us.
Do we forget? Does time erode our memories to help us heal? Or, do the fading memories simply add to our grief? Things get better with time, we are told, but do they? We grow older, but what truly changes for the better? It is difficult to imagine that life is better without our loved ones than it was when they were here, enriching our lives. Is it? Is life better?
I can't say. I choose instead not to forget--to continue to be inspired and supported by my memories if nothing else. I choose not to move on--not really. I elect to feel the pain of my loss periodically, in remembrance of the friendship I once enjoyed. It is a celebration of life. It is a realization that whatever I do or wherever I go, I am not alone.
Thanks for your time.
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