I’ve out grown you nearly three years. I am older, but hesitate to say I am any wiser. Some people say I am wiser than you because I am still alive. Yeah, it’s the same people who say you need your undergrad to make any real difference. I would bet they are also the people who gave Ryan Gosling’s new flick “Drive,” two thumbs down. Which, by the way, you would love the movie. I know what you are thinking, “Really Nick? Ryan Gosling?” Trust me though, it is all you enjoyed about the Notebook but injected with a portion of Green Street Hooligans’ intensity. You taught me well. You would like it. I forgot to mention, your undergrad does not matter anymore. If you want to make any real difference you best make it through grad school, so its ok that you didn’t finish.
It’s been over four years since we last talked. We were outside your house. You were laughing at how immature some of my relationship problems were. I am proud to tell you, I still have them, and they are still immature. I forgive you for how insensitive you would be to me when I would open up about my feelings. Really, I should thank you. You helped toughen me up. Remember whats-her-name? How we laughed when I thanked you for ultimately being the victor in our competition to win whats-her-name’s affection? Man, she played both of us. Maybe I would have won had I not been three years younger than her. I still have some pictures of you two on my hard drive, along with those 45 pictures you left on my camera of different angles of your nose. No matter what way you aimed the camera, it was still crooked. I also remember the night before the trip, where we met whats-her-name, when you made me run four miles with you, in my boxers, to a friend’s house. And the time you borrowed a varsity girls cheerleader outfit… which you some how convinced me to wear… to ask a girl to prom. Your power of persuasion was comparable to any Jedi Master. You would be proud to know I have passed the same traditions down to my younger brother at my parents’ disapproval.
The small group, rather, the group of young punks who gathered in your recreation room every Monday at 8 pm shaped my life. Years stolen by an addiction to pornography were redeemed piece by piece every week because of your openness, transparency, and walk with the Lord. You took me on as a younger brother and friend. Through example, and not always the best example, you showed me what it meant to walk as a man of God. You were rough around the edges, everyone knows that, but you loved the Lord like no one I had met. I think everyone has a story of something ridiculous you did. Like the time you punched Eddy in the face because he said you could, sarcastically of course, and you took him at his word. What about the time you laid down on your long board and held onto the underbelly of a school bus while it drove off? What the heck were you thinking? If I am not mistaken you still hold the Salem/Keizer record for the most red flags in one soccer season, and I will never forget the time you popped a guy in the face for talking about your mom.
I spent a year being jaded and bitter when you left. I remember arriving to your house shortly after I heard what had happened. It was busy with people. I headed straight up stairs to Big Mama’s room. I went in and embraced her as she laid on her bed. She held me as I cried, and I held her as she cried. I will never forget the first words she said to me, “Nick, he loved you.” Those moments in your mom’s arms are etched into my memory. Though I was comforted by the woman you would give your life for, I was also angry and filled with deep remorse. I was angry at the God who allowed you to leave. I was filled with deep remorse because of the amount of time I made for you, the year you left. I felt robbed of your life, as did many others, and I decided I would live by the slogan, “What would Jared do?” My problem was I adopted the slogan, and neglected the God you loved. I was pissed at the God you loved, because the God you loved allowed you to leave. I lived with crazy misplaced passion. Willing to go anywhere or try anything. Why? Because that is what you would do.
I don’t know if you saw the footage of your life’s celebration, but you would have rolled over at the sight of 1,500 plus people wearing all pink. I found a pink blazer to wear at your favorite thrift store Value Village. Your after party was catered with your choice food and beverage, banana bread and Vitamin Water. Which by the way, we all thank you for letting some one know what you wanted a few weeks before you left. It made it a more joyous occasion. You would be happy to know a handful of people gave their life to the Lord during your celebration. I hate to admit it, but I started getting mad at how many people said they were best friends with you. Some people I hardly knew would say, “oh yeah, Jared and I were so tight,” and I wouldn’t even know their name, but that was the life you lived. You were best friends with everyone. You lived richly and deeply. You lived with a zest for life only few men carry. You found your source in the Lord, and it impacted every life you came in contact with. Jared, you were only 20 when you left, and you have inspired thousands. An accomplishment not made by many people even after they have lived a long full life.
I am sitting in a foreign country right now, and I know you wanted to go to Scotland and church plant, but I think Analia, Naphtalie and I could have swayed you to join us here in Taiwan. I am happy to tell you that I am more in love now with the God you love than I was when you left us.
Ill most likely kick your butt when I see you next. You are such a punk for being the first of us there.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Welcome to the space created to give you the monologue of my life, in hopes it creates a dialogue with yours.