My wife and I just got home from a wonderful trip to Colorado – our Christmas present to ourselves after a long year of grinding out a lot of different projects in our respective jobs. I’m still working out the details of a story about that, with pics. Hopefully that will flesh out soon.
Right now, it’s after midnight. Christmas Eve. A time when many of the people who will be reading this will be crashing in their old bedrooms at their parents’ houses. Or, if you’re like me, you’re sitting Indian Style, the way we always sat during morning choir at First Lutheran School throughout grade school. Sitting with a Macbook in my lap as Roseanne reruns play on Netflix and my wife and dog snooze in the bed around me. I have tried to avoid this topic, mainly out of vain self-preservation, but as my family sleeps around me, I find myself unsettled and contemplating a subject VERY unfamiliar to this twenty-seven-year-old.
On December 6th, a man who I grew up with died after a long battle with cancer. Chris Cecil was a grade ahead of me, but he was probably the nicest kid I could have ever met at First Lutheran School. Despite dealing with frequent bone fractures over the years, physical pain rarely dampened Chris’s spirits. Always kind and willing to help anyone who needed it, I only have positive memories of Chris. A couple of years ago, after having not seen Chris for nearly a decade, he greeted me warmly with the familiarity of a long lost friend. He worked at a bank branch close by my work, and I saw him at least once a week for almost a year. Upon running across my mother, he greeted her with the same warmth and excitement. I feel guilty that I didn’t do more to maintain that friendship in the years between our childhood and adulthood, but Chris didn’t seem to notice. With him, all was good.
Tomorrow is Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate this holiday specifically, this time of year is a time when we all hold our families close. A time when we try to stop and appreciate our loved ones and give thanks for those who we hold dear. I can’t begin to imagine what this Christmas will be like for Chris’s family.
I’m not even sure what message I’m trying to convey here. Maybe nothing. Maybe this is just a moment of pure openness. A moment when a man in his late 20s is faced with the reality of death and wonders what the hell it all means. A man like Chris Cecil is gone, who also had a loving wife and bright future, but I’m still here. What does that mean? Is there a meaning?
It’s hard to know.
The only thing I can come up with that makes any sense is that Chris Cecil was a man of God. Simply put, he was a good man. He loved his friends and family in a way that takes most of us a lifetime to achieve. Maybe the rest of us need more time. That is the only explanation I can come up with, and it seems fitting.
God bless you, Chris.