Sunday, October 17, 2010
Farewell My Friend
My heart is heavy today. Not even one hour ago I learned that a dear friend was killed last night in an act of senseless violence. Apparently, he was killed over a parking space. He was an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department where he risked his life daily for its citizens and now his family has to suffer the pain and anguish of his loss...over a parking space.
I am deeply saddened right now. Brian and I have been friends since high school. When we started at Dunbar, it was the first year of the program and partnership with Johns Hopkins Hospital. There were two classes of us and it was like we were in an exclusive club. We didn't look down on others or anything like that, it's just that we all were so close. Like a family. You know how you have a friend that you might only see every few years or so, but when you do see them, it's like no time has passed at all? You find that you're still close just like you've always been? That's how it is with our whole class. We recently had our 20th reunion, and we laughed and enjoyed each other like we see each other everyday. It was truly a beautiful thing.
The thing that saddens me most is not that he had to die because all of our life cycles will end eventually. Some of us will go seemingly before our time. Most of us will leave behind loved ones, unresolved issues, and many, many questions. It's painful, but it's a part of life: birth, growth, death, and to some rebirth. What upsets me is the absurdity that my friend lost his life over something so petty. So insignificant. So unimportant. So incredibly stupid. So astronomically unnecessary.
How does his wife explain that to their children? How does she say, "You father was killed because he stole someone's parking space" or whatever the circumstances were? How does she make them understand that someone took him away from them forever for a reason so small?
It seems that we are willing to kill over anything these days. It doesn't take much for us to become murderous and/or blood-thirsty. Why is that? Why do we fight to the death over things not worth dying for? It's a sad state of affairs we're in right now. Somebody please tell me what I can do to change it. Please tell me what I can do so that another child doesn't have to be fatherless. Please tell me what I can do so that another wife doesn't have to bury her husband and then figure out how she's going to teach her children the lessons that only a father can. Please. PLEASE. It has to stop. We have to find a way to bring about more peace, more love, more understanding, more forgiveness. We have to find a way to say, "It's okay, you take that parking space. I'll find another. Even if it means I have to walk further to my destination at least I'll get some exercise."
So I ask today that you forgive someone a small injustice. If I let a door slam in your face, forgive me. If I forget to say thank you, forgive me. If I insult your hairstyle, forgive me. If I cut you off in traffic, forgive me. If I don't share my lunch with you, forgive me. If I don't answer your phone call, forgive me. If I hurt your feelings, forgive me. If I forward a chain letter to your inbox, forgive me. If I disagree with you, forgive me. If I'm ungrateful, forgive me. If I'm critical, forgive me. If you love me, forgive me. If you don't love me, forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive him. Forgive them. Forgive.
Farewell, my dear friend. I know by now you're making them all laugh on that other plane of existence. They are happy to have you. And we all are better for having known you.
Until next week,
Feed on love; subsist on peace.