It's hard to write about something like this without a sense of sensationalism. What I've experienced, what I'm going to talk about is an experience had by hundreds of millions of people before and after me. I know it's not a unique experience, but today, I feel called to talk a bit about the most defining moment of my life.
I thought we were going to the church to drop my brother off for a choir trip. And we were, I guess, but there was something else. I got asked to step into the lead pastor's office. I remember it being dark and stately. A lot of books and leather chairs. That is where, and when, if my memory is serving me correctly, that I found out I wouldn't ever be seeing my best friend again.
The times blur together in my head and heart. I remember there being an assembly at school. I remember the gatherings and the quiet whispers in the hallway and how the world seemed to completely stop and start spinning faster all at once. I remember somehow getting my hands on a copy of CS Lewis' "A Grief Observed" and reading the whole thing in the car and a plane.
But most of all, I remember how it was all my fault.
It's a bold assertion to think that someone's death is your fault and I suppose it's a pretty adolescent way of looking at things, but sometimes I still wonder if it could be.
It was the time of dial-up internet and we had this stupid little box that would let us know when a call was coming in. We hooked it up to the caller ID and that gave you a choice when you were online - disconnect and talk to the person calling or continue doing whatever pointless thing the internet had to offer.
The night my best friend died, I chose not to answer his incoming call because I didn't want to be disconnected from the internet. That's the choice that's stared me in the face for the last thirteen years.
It's a terrible way to learn how selfish you can be.
I'm talking about this now, today, only because I was reminded that yesterday, March 27, was the anniversary of his death and I can't get it off my mind.