Sunday, March 8, 2009

A standard of happiness

I traveled down to Phoenix, AZ with my mother on Saturday to attend the funeral of a family friend today - Saturday. Paul Giele was just a price of a guy ... so much laughter, even at his funeral. As a testament to his character, after struggling with Parkinson's disease for 8-10 years, he donated his body to science. His remembrance service was held in the Sun City church that he attended with his wife. His son, a very close friend of mine from high school was there. Funny that after 15 years, we still acted as if we just lived down the street from each other. Old friendships never do die.
I thought about the lives that my friend and I have lived - we have both had our significant detours orbiting around the same things ... too much partying and too slow to grow up. It occurred to me that it is not the detour that is the tragic aspect of growing up - it is that we so often choose to try to make it back alone - being too embarrassed or ashamed to surround ourselves with those who love us - our friends and family. That solitary journey back is such a long one without the benefit of a compass, or the experience of those who have traveled a similar path and found their way through the church, a spiritual awakening of some sort, AA, or whatever.
The funeral and the get together afterward provided to me an opportunity to reconnect with an old friend, to offer him my home and support along his journey, and to remind myself that a solitary life lived is seldom looked back upon and considered worth the effort - it is only through our friends and our ability to love another that the detours become not wasted time, but scenic detours.