John The Left

For my friend John. He’ll never read this, but he’s a true brother.  Brotherhood is rare.
________________________________________________________

“Bartender please, fill my glass for me with the wine they gave Jesus that set him free….”
Dave Matthews

If the two of you were blood brothers, if you shared the same left-handed scars and if he, the elder, needed a friend instead of a bullet, would you go?

Objection to the compound question?

His closest friends, the ones who walked daily with him, didn’t show up. And for the life of me I want to forgive them. Really. I do. But he found himself in a game of Russian Roulette where he was the only one sitting at the table. He won, thankfully.

There are familiar people, kindred spirits. There are people who recognize that distracted love is no love at all. But how do those souls find each other when distraction steals hope? What if they don’t?

When the elder was unspooling into that pile of scarlet thread on the floor, I wasn’t sure who I would call. The people that we all trust (the ones with proper church titles), they didn’t answer their phones that night. So I made that drive. I am relation but I am not kindred. I am unconditional love but I am not understanding (I desperately wish that I were). I relied upon people I called brothers. They folded their arms and continued their sleeping.

We are all so tired.

But you were an option, friend. If only I had known. You were once that same tangled mass. Once you took the ammunition from your necklace, loaded your gun with finality. You stopped eating hoping that you could starve yourself into eternity. You thought the death of your son would lead to your own. The perfect excuse. But there was an intervention from a fellow left-hander—salvation at the hands of one who sticks closer than a brother!

So when I saw you at the meeting-house, when I told you the story that almost ended in tragedy, you put your hand on my shoulder. You said that demons don’t die easily, but they do die. You said I could always call if he goes searching for the bottom again. You assured me that love is often metaphorically indicated as ocean breakers for a reason. You reminded me that frailty can be fortified with life-giving words.

All joy broke loose in the hallway when you said, “call me anytime.” I was unknowing of my need until you confronted it. And the weight of the struggles of my forefathers was lifted by a love more weighty. Praise be to the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, Peter, and John!

I miss you, friend. You personify the life everlasting.

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