(I know it looks like the cake has been set on fire, it’s just the whites being blown out in the camera, giving the appearance of bright light. It was just a sad weak little candle that wouldn’t go out.)
A week ago today, I went to a small gathering of friends, new and old. The oldest of them all is the reason I was there. My friend’s name is Tarik. He and I were best friends in our early teen years, starting in middle school, and then it sort of ebbed and flowed in high school as we fell into our own respective little niche, where things that academically preoccupied our time definitely shaped our present lives good and bad. He and I are both soldiers–he an Army officer and I an non-commissioned officer. He is essentially newly married which was followed with a newborn later on. We still have a number of things in common and can speak passionately about film and some aspects of video games–for me mostly film (film and video games were the currency of our very lives and what made our blood pump as children). Near the end of our time reconnecting last week, we indeed did carry on about a number of interesting things recently seen at the movies. I felt, if only for a moment, transported back in time to the more innocent time of having so much fun, he and I, among our weird friends in the neighborhood. But then on some level I detected a hint of melancholy within myself that I had not intended nor expected to feel. So I quickly put it away so as not to be betrayed by my own physical expression. (No one wants to be, much less look the part of a “Debbie Downer.” Am I right?)
In our youth, Tarik was the one friend who definitely understood me. He actively did as much, and that allowed me to open up a bit. What he got in return from me was my loyalty as a friend. As my current best friends Rashon, Lindsay, and Bobby can attest, my dedication is like that of biblical example through David and Jonathan, albeit still imperfect. With whatever measure I have within me I will stay and fight for you.
Today I am a lot wiser, smarter, street smarter, but just as literal, emotionally under-developed, silly and naive in many ways. In the past, the things he’d catch onto would simply pass me by, leaving me in a wind of confusion. But then he’d diligently explain everything. That is one of the good things that allowed me to respect him. He was patient. The lofty noble things are what I cherish in a person–not your money, status, power, education, and so on. Although he is much, much smarter than I and ever so witty. Nevertheless, what I look for at least in a person is: “Are you just and do you walk with God–his Son Christ Jesus? If not, if you at least desire it I’ll tell you about these great noble things and the person from whom I received them.” I think I’ve digressed..
Anyway, it was his birthday a week ago and he turned 31, the same age as me. I turned 31 in April of this year. Jokingly he told us that the only thing he has noticed already with the advent of his super-old age is that he struggles to remain awake throughout a movie now. Having known him and how he was and apparently unchanged, this really is tragic news despite how comical he made it out to be.
Prior to last week, I have not seen Tarik in person since 2001, and a week ago was the first in twelve years. Apart from Facebook, we had no major interaction whatsoever. So I am glad to have been able to once again be apart of a major highlight of his life and redeem the time that was lost.
Again, my dear friend, Happy Birthday Tarik!
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” -Colossians 3:12-14