Sometimes, in a routine moment previously and otherwise unremarkable in our hectic lives, we are thrust suddenly into a surreal experience and forced to ponder the unthinkable. ProfessorRoush experienced such a moment last week, a moment where our vast-beyond-comprehension Universe shrunk to human dimensions and pace, and then reached out and slapped me into awareness. An awareness that I want to share with everyone and anyone who comes across this post. It's a message that you've all heard before from a Greater Being; Love one another, because our time here is all too short. No other words carry such importance for our daily lives and yet I fail, every day, to keep that thought at the front of my mind. A gardener, a man, should be better.
Three months ago I found, on Linked-In, a lost friend from my college days. I had searched before, periodically, but never crossed his electronic Internet trail until now. His name was David Sonita and for those first few years of college we were as close as brothers, supporting each other past boring professors and changing lives and homesickness. We weren't in the same professions or in many classes together, but our evenings were filled with rabid racquetball matches, brutal chess and backgammon games, and lots of laughter and gab. We simply lost touch near the end of college, me preoccupied with a growing romance of a female form that eventually consented to become Mrs. ProfessorRoush, and David seeking to redefine himself in a paradigm shift of career and focus.
So, there we were, thirty years later, catching up in a few emails on life and family and thoughts and it was as if the intervening years never existed. We wrote of losses and dreams and my philosopher-friend was gray-haired and likely wiser, but just as alive as in my memories, wry humor confronting life head-on. We poured out our souls, started a correspondence chess game, and looked forward in time despite the old bodies housing our still-young minds.
And then, last Thursday at 6 a.m. while I was frantically packing for a trip to the wedding of a former resident, I received an email from his wife and learned that David was gone, 56 years young, stolen away without warning by a massive heart attack the previous week.
Friends, ProfessorRoush stumbles mostly around life as a happy fool, but I know when I've been touched by the hand of God or Fate or whatever Higher Power you choose to call it. I was clearly meant to reconnect with David at this time and juncture, to touch an old friend's life and learn that I am now the last keeper of those memories of his life. There are so many lessons here for us; to appreciate always those in our lives, to cherish time spent together, to recognize the signs of God's influence in our lives, perhaps just to go see our cardiologists. I know, for one, that I've again a little more aware of what I eat and militant of my exercise. But most of all, I'm left remembering David, a pod bursting with promise, returned again to grace old ground, a gentle angel on the wind.