My friend,

I remember sitting on a blanket in the backyard across the street after a phone call. 2,000 miles away your car had gone off course by 12 ft., and you weren’t breathing anymore; we were trying to keep breathing ourselves. I remember feeling like a slice of lime tumbled around in a glass, no control, no mechanisms to right myself or answer my questions.

Anyway, that’s been a whole ago year now. And you’ve missed one hell of a year, maybe you’re watching it, I don’t know. At night, we see helicopters flying over the protests in downtown Phoenix. Outside, there’s a virus and rioting – and inside we sit around thinking of how we might go about righting our collective self, a bunch of tumbling limes in an ocean.

I guess the thing I remember most about the night you died is the silence. Long pause in the phone conversation when he told me what happened. Long ride in a mini-van, long evening in a backyard trying to stomach the situation, long plane-ride home, long wait between funeral and burial. Long intervals in a tragic movement. I remember how hard it is to breathe when you’re trying not to cry, how tired your throat gets.

Yesterday, I was reading how the truth is sometimes silence.

Truth simply is, and is what is, the good with the bad, the joy with the despair, the presence and absence of God, the swollen eye, [constricted throat]. Before it is a word, the gospel that is truth is silence, a pregnant silence in its ninth month…”

– Frederick Buechner (Telling the Truth)

And I don’t exactly know what that means, or quite what to hope for, or what to expect from God in his presence and his absence. I know that my work is to believe – to weigh everything bad, about your death, the rioting, the sickness, in the balance against that old story about everything being remade and healed up, and if the balance won’t tip, then to jump and grab ahold of it, lean on it with all my weight.

In the end, whether or not I see any movement, I must believe the good is going on, and coming. That the silences are indeed pregnant, that this unknowing is the ground on which the knowing will strike. And this tumbling is that which will again be turned right side up. And if I never see it, if I’m drowned or crushed, it will be like a lime, leaving something good until something better takes us all.

Anyways, I’ve gone on too long. We miss you. Tell the Lord to come soon. I’m sure we’ll talk soon, and in more than these weird dreams I wake from.

Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

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