Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And in the end, it doesn't even matter

This week has been more than a little rough, to say the least.  It was the kind of week that slaps you in the face, punches you in the gut, steals your money,  and runs like hell. It was the kind of week you want to yell at God and your friends and tell them exactly how mad you are and how uncool they are. Don't even let me start on how it makes you feel about the people you have a hard time liking.

At the same time, it was the kind of week that makes you beyond grateful; grateful to have known such a stellar soul, grateful to have friends who will let you yell at them and then spend hours talking to you and drawing you out from your grief, grateful for the kind look from the professor who couldn't help but notice the tears you were desperately trying to hold back as you asked what he'd like for lunch or the father who saw you crying at Mass and put down his sleeping child so that he could reach out and say "Peace be with you", grateful for hugs from coworkers, and kind words from total strangers whose life was also touched by a friend, even though they had never met him.

It was the kind of week that makes you seriously think; about life, and it's unpredictably and fragility, about direction and where to go and what you're doing with your life, about pain and suffering, death, loss, and what really matters. And the truth is, honestly? In the end.... very little matters.

Though I am young, I am not new to grief. I have thought these thoughts before. While I loved my cousin, I did not know my cousin very well, and though this may be selfish, I mourned that I didn't know him, more than I was able to mourn his life. My friend, Kevin, who died in 2009 was a good friend, but we hadn't seen each other in over a year. We kept in touch, and I missed him, and his death shook me, but never quite as much as this week has. Perhaps it is the combination of all of these deaths that has helped make this week so difficult, because when I think of these things, I do not always think of one individually, but often, of the three of them.

Jon was a good friend mine, but he was one of my best friend's closest friend. I would often get frustrated with both of them, because they would rarely do anything separately and Scharf generally got the better deal. I would tease them about their "bromance" and give them a hard time about ditching me. And in end, when he's gone - what does it even matter? The answer is... it REALLY doesn't. Scharf was in Ave before the accident. They had told me that they were gonna chill with some other friends that Friday and wanted me to come. I had Fridays off and was really looking forward to it. Thursday night, I was told that I would have to work Friday. Getting someone to cover a 14 hour shift on Friday is impossible. Weighing that in my mind along with the fact that it was 14 hours which I would otherwise lose, I told them I would have to work and would have to catch up with Scharf on his next trip to FL. That 14 hours? What does it matter? It matters not at all. I could have made it without those hours. And while I couldn't have known that it would be my last chance to ever hang out with Scharf, it still makes you think. I HATE getting my picture taken. As a result, I have no pictures with either of my friends. What does the frizz that I perceive in my hair or the blemish on my skin matter now? It doesn't. Not one bit. (Especially now that I know how to edit pictures better...).

I am lucky to know 3 good men who died, men who showed true characteristics of greatness. It's a great comfort to know that their lives have impacted so many people for the better.

So be sure and kiss your children, call your mom and tell her that love her, drop a note of thanks to a friend, take that picture of you and your loved one even if it's crazy stupid, talk to the sibling(s) you've been avoiding,  smile at the stranger instead of scowling. Let go of the anger (easier said than done. Trust me, I know this), let go of the awkward silences. Find a way to turn those into love before the Things That Really Don't Matter After They're Gone, become the Things I Should Have Done or Said.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Farewell for now

Today is the type of day that a person dreads, the type of day you never want to see: the day when you say your final farewells to a friend and he is laid to rest in his final resting place on earth.

Today is also the first feast day of Blessed Pope John Paul II, a man Jon admired and emulated, which adds even more poignancy to this day. Blessed JPII's motto "Be not afraid" was truly lived out by Jon. He was a guy who was not afraid to swim against the current, or to blaze a new trail. He had just launched the "Pregnant on Campus Initiative" with the goal of getting resources and help to parenting college students. (See him in action here and here ) It was quite amazing to listen to him speak in philosophy classes ( I particularly enjoyed my Aesthetics class with him).

I will miss discussing art and politics and life and what to do when people disappoint you and drinks and dancing and everything with him. I was blessed to have seen him one more time a couple of weeks before he died. This is something I wrote a couple days ago, but want to put it here.

Jon WAS a very good man and a good friend. I will miss him very much. Every day for work, I walk by the window where he used to sit and work on the Pro Life banquet or other projects for SFL at AMU, where he’d make faces at me or make fun of me from. It saddens me beyond belief to know that I will not see that goofy smile again in this life.
In the original articles in the Macon newspaper, only Kortney and the other driver were listed as victims. Yesterday, when reporting Jon’s death, the newspaper also listed Sophy (they did not name her, but they did include her) as a victim of this terrible tragedy. I truly believe that this is a testament to Jon’s work and proof that even his death will not stop his fight for the unborn in this world.
He and Kortney will be guiding this movement from Heaven.Jon, I was blessed to have known you. Farewell, and rest in peace, my beautiful friend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The World has Lost a(nother) Beautiful Soul

And we have lost a wonderful friend, Jonathan Daniel Scharfenberger, champion of the unborn. I do not think that words can describe how much he will be missed by those he leaves behind. It is a shame that the world will not see your smile or hear you crack a joke again. But I am very grateful for the chance to have seen it and to be amused by your sense of humor. Rest in peace, Scharf.

‎"When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, thefinal judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!'"