While I was busy learning a happy dance last week after successful surgery, halfway around the world a friend I've never met, nor now shall I, was organizing his exit. I don't really have the words to capture the courage and class he has shown.
About a year and a half ago I heard via Facebook (where else?) from someone who listened to a radio show I did a very long time ago on another continent in vastly different circumstances. I had always been aware, at the abstract level, there were listeners (sometimes they showed in places and with faces I never quite got used to), but it was all long ago and it was far away and so much different than it is today.
His note was very kind and humbling for someone who has rarely been accused of modesty (and with the stunning lack of talents and abilities it's quite a stretch to be egotistical). He had been a former GI (US forces active duty) who had married local color, as had I, and stayed on in Germany working for a private sector company, sort of like Red and Christine. He had been dabbling in blogging and had a site that he has since switched over and reinvented as an intensely personal place. Because of differences in philosophy and geography, he often offered a different perspective on world events than I might have otherwise had the chance to learn about.
After we first reconnected, we spent a lot of time typing at one another but, as is so often the case, after a while the workaday crowded out the 'us' and the visits became shorter and the silences longer. I would have very likely eventually seen his May 16 entry, and the ones leading up to it but not for a couple of weeks, if not longer as it's about to get excruciatingly stupid in my life. He doesn't have the luxury of time to wait for remedial readers.
One of us is rapidly arriving at the place where the road and sky collide and it will not be a gentle good-bye as I have some experience with what he is, and will be, going through. Grace under pressure is, I think, the greatest of all character attributes and one that I know Curt Sherwood, whose nom de plume is Tony Forest, has in abundance. He will need it and your prayers, if you're so inclined.
"To the fields we are scattered/From the day we are born/To grow wild and sleep rough/Till from the earth we are torn. And a soul that is free/Can live on eternally/And the spirit can live on/Though it's scattered in the world beyond."