Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
It's Wednesday, a sun filled, hot day here in Milwaukee WI. With blue sky all above me, how could I not be relatively happy? Seize the sunny moments today!
On Monday I had lunch with my friend Andy and his aunt. Andy and I go way back. We played together in a band in highschool, playing little gigs here and there around our area. The two of us, along with two friends from my high school, had enough fun to play music together throughout our highschool years. And we ended up meeting a band called Lifehouse because we were incredibly lucky. But that's another story.
Anyways, back to Andy and his aunt. Andy is one of the most sincere, caring, thoughtful friends I have. We don't see each other that often because he is busy struggling through dental school at Marquette and I am busy struggling through seminary at Loyola in Chicago. However, when we do get together, the conversation and time spent is anything but a struggle, always really satisfying (I'm speaking about my end of the deal...maybe Andy can't stand me!). So when Andy invited me out to lunch with an aunt of his, how could I say no?
My yes to lunch turned out to make for an incredible mid-afternoon with a good friend and his aunt. In the process, I became a friend to a middle aged world traveler excited about life and excited to grow in understanding of the people and places in and of this world. Andy's aunt took great interest in hearing my story and a little about where I interpret my life to be at this stage of it. She also seriously cared for the goodwill of her nephew Andy. I could tell, from the way she spoke to him and the things she spoke about with him, that she put a lot of stake in making sure Andy is content and peaceful in his current situation.
This aunt, I'm fairly certain, was the sister of Andy's mother. While we were in high school, Andy's mother lost a battle with cancer. He rarely spoke about it and I could tell that it was an incredibly delicate subject for him to think about, let alone talk about. I can only imagine the pain and confusion and anger associated with losing someone so near and dear. To think that Andy was able to cope the way he did is an example of his remarkable spirit and faith. He had the faith to believe that his mother would want him to stay driven, motivated and on the right track. Indeed, he did such, graduating at high levels, continuing on to prepare for dentistry at Marquette, a career his mother had been successful in, and also maintaining his love for music.
In addition to playing with our band, Andy branched out into Irish folk music, playing in Irish folk band with other Marquette students. They have played Irish Fest here in Milwaukee for several years and are to release a full length CD this August. Catch them at Irish Fest this year August 13 - 16 if you are in town!
Back to Andy's aunt. I have discerned that she must have had some sort of impact on him during his mourning. She must have had some sort of impact on him throughout his entire life. This woman, though she has seen the world (especially Europe) and has been away from Milwaukee for months, years at a time, seems to have, in some way, stayed connected to her nephew. The fact that she showed she cared showed me a lot about her character. It is one thing to say you care. It is quite another to show you care.
Her exit, after 2 hours of lunch and conversation, was fitting for her personality. She, if I'm not mistaken, called me her friend and wished me best of luck until next time. It sort of reminded me of the song "Happy Trails." The final line of the song goes something like this: "Happy trails to you, till we meet again." Isn't it a little like in the Christian tradition the belief that Jesus, that all our brothers and sisters will be united in one way or another in eternal bliss? Jesus makes this assertion to his apostles, hence they start a religious community. They share in fellowship, remembering the last supper and the death and reawakening of their beloved rabbi, friend, brother.
I had a lunch with Andy and his aunt "until we meet again." The three of us may or may not again be in the same city at the same time to share a meal together. Nevertheless, we can say we will meet again because that is how we say goodbye to people we meet. If we believe in the possibility that there is some sort of eternity in our midst, whenever, wherever, whatever that may be, then we can say with confidence, or faith, "until we meet again."
Happy Trails to all my fellow N.O.L Lovers.
'Til we meet again~
peace and blessings...
your friend bob.