You wrote to me in May about love… I wanted to write back to you the instant I read that post, but I somehow never got around to it. What stupid order of priorities is that in which other things happen, but writing to your friends does not?
I always think of you this time of year. But unlike many other people, I don’t think about the past, I don’t worry much about the unchangeable things in the world, as terrible as they may have been. I worry about today though. About who we are and who we become. This year, more than any other, I am thinking of you. And this year, more than any other, I’ll try to write you a letter.
I do agree with you on what you said of love, though I didn’t used to. Love changes over the years. It doesn’t disappear, it doesn’t dry, it just changes, as people change. I’ve learned that to be true recently. You can buy the prettiest flowers and put them in a vase and water them everyday… but sooner or later, the flowers will dry out and die. It may be a few days, it may be a few weeks, but it will happen, as certain as time goes by.
Or you can plant the smallest of seeds and nurture it. It takes great care to grow a seed into a strong plant, lots of work. Sometimes the little plant will bloom and look amazing. Sometimes all the flowers will fall off and it will look like there’s almost nothing left to go by. You need to take care of the plant… sometimes it needs to move, sometimes it needs trimming or propping, sometimes it just needs to grow freely for a bit. And if you’re like me, you’ll do a thousand mistakes on the way.
But if you work hard and if you’re lucky, the little seed you planted will grow into a strong plant that may even outlive you. And that’s the love that grows.
But all love changes. The way we love our parents changes, though it’s always been there. I think we will never really love our parents quite right until we have children ourselves. Until then, I don’t think we will be able to really understand what they gave and what for and what magic is in their love. As I grow older I understand more, but I think I’m still so far off.
I’ve recently watched our graduation video again (yes yes, I have both mine and your recording of it, so remind to make sure they come your way as well). I haven’t seen it in a very long time, maybe 5 years now, maybe even 6. It reminded me of that youthful passion we had back then, that rebellious streak still overdominating our personality. It’s fun to watch it and to remember what we wanted to make out of that graduation ceremony.
I remember that your father wasn’t as happy with it as we were. I remember his criticism later that summer and his arguments on what it should mean to go up on a stage. I remember most of the things he said and I distinctly remember not understanding it at all. I didn’t actually think about it too much after that night.
When I graduated from college, I didn’t speak at the graduation. But I did present something. I presented my senior project in various contexts. And when I was working on that, putting it together, going over it again and again, I remembered that summer night and what your dad told us about our “show”. And for the first time in my life, four years later, I felt like I got it.
When I presented my senior project, the audience listened. Everyone listened, I could see they were enjoying it. I never saw it as a presentation, it was a 8 minute show on a stage. It was worth putting my name to it, it was funny, but serious. I think your dad would have loved it. I think he would’ve been proud in the way teachers are when they hear news of where their students have gone to.
For people like us, some times are more difficult than others. I don’t believe in an “up there”, there is only a here and now. And the here and now is sometimes lonely and cold and there is little soothing to that. But if there are so many things that we can’t change in this world, there is still a lot that we can. We can change everything there is about who we are and what we do. We can choose how to speak, how to write, how to love. In the here and now, our choices are who we are.
I only knew your father a little bit, but I know you a lot better. And so I know your father through everything you do, through your choices, and he strikes me as a great man and a good father. I know he was proud of you, I know he would still be so and I know I am proud that we are friends.
I don’t know what else to say my dear friend. This is no place for the weary kind, there is no shortcut, no easy way out for us. But, me and you, we’re still crazy, we still believe. We still believe that the things we do can change the world and that at the end of it all, we will have left our prints on this world and made it into a better place. Even at our lowest points, we believe that we can make a dent on the world’s stage. And you don’t grow up to be like this by chance. We may feel like we’ve only recently spread our wings, but if we dream today, it’s because we were set free years ago by the careful guiding hands of our parents. And so all love lives on and that’s all I’ll write to you today about love.
Cannot WAIT to get together dude. You take care in the mean time. Te pup.