the future is unwritten and only indicated by our past
and i’ve put my affairs in order far too many times
too many times to count i’ve let the moment pass me by
so many fires to put out, please don’t die, this little flame
it is your life
let it be, it will consume us both, and cleanse, and clarify
our lands will see renewal, subsume the past, ignite our crimes
turning truth from lies
and our hands will weather, weary, seek and find their honest rest
and our hearts will beat and bleed, feed each-other, blood and wine
I suppose I should also send my apologies out to the universe in hopes that they land near anyone else I happened to have forgotten.
For the past week, my heart has been hurting from a vague anxiety and sense of foreboding that something horrible will happen soon, maybe to me, or worse, to people whom I love. It wasn’t until last night when Caiti and I had a chance to talk where she mentioned it might still have something to do with my 30th birthday, and the deep meaning that event holds in my heart in relation to the passing of one of my best friends, John Froese, a few years ago.
John and I became friends at a very young age. John lived with — and died because of — his struggle with cystic fibrosis. Many of us considered it a miracle that he had lived long enough for us to become friends in the first place — that he was accurately diagnosed and thus gained access to treatment options that could extend his life, allowing his body to derive nutrition from the food he ingested, for example.
The life expectancy for persons who struggle with cystic fibrosis continues to grow. At the time and age of his diagnosis, the medical establishment estimated that he might live to be 30 years old. Throughout my friendship with John, i steadily internalized the idea that life simply had a 30 year horizon — not just for him, but for us both. Perhaps for us all.
John didn’t quite make the 30 year mark, and it makes no coherent sense to me that i’ve lived this long. As a result, any thought i have about my own aging — including birthdays — reflects deeply back upon my relationship with him.
John is one of the most stubborn people I have ever known — myself included. He almost effortlessly (or perhaps through sheer stubborn effort) harnessed the extant forces of nature around him to marvelous effect as an artist, and then as a gardener in his later years, before the natural forces internal to his own body overwhelmed him.
In his last days, he reflected on how easily we experience death and the process of dying, and how we witness that same process only with great difficulty. Through the love and testimony of his parents, that profound comment remains the last lesson he taught me in life, and he continues to teach to anyone who listens.
Thanks to John, I feel I have a profound understanding of the ephemeral privilege life represents to us. As a result, I demand of myself, and anyone with whom i associate, that we live the infitesimally short journey of our lives with the grace, serenity, strength, courage and wisdom to recognize and realize the infinitely immense privilege, gift and associated responsibilities we embody. I often fall short of this goal, which indicates to me its continued relevance to my life.
I appreciate your patience as I sort through the above feelings, as well as the fact that I just miss him so much. I appreciate your reading this far, and for any and all good work you do in contribution to life worth living and a world worth fighting — and dying — for.
carry the flame…
1984 – ?