How many of you remember staring out the window at night, when your were a kid, watching and wishing upon the stars?
From my perspective, twilight was the best time of day, between light and dark but still able to see the clouds and catch the first brightest star of the night; "I wish I may, I wish I might, wish upon this star tonight"...those days held a lifetime of wishes.
I would sit on the edge of my bed scooched close to the window; I could then fold my arms across one another using the sill as my bearer. With my eyes closed and cheek nestled in the softness of my palm as a pillow, I would picture angels leaping from cloud to cloud as if they were on marshmallow trampolines.
Smiling, then back to reality, I would see these fluffy detached white clouds that really looked like cotton balls and wondered at their beauty and about my immense curiosity of God, who He is, who created all this wonderment. "He always was and always will be"... My child brain could not rationalize, so I banked my prayer and wished upon a star....then moved on with no answer.
"Flight 520 to Orlando has been delayed until 3:30pm", blared out over the airport speaker system. Immediately, I'm pulled back from childhood memories. The reality of the situation is difficult and I want to go back to sweeter dreams and the possibilities of the past rather than dwell on the present.
Sitting in the airport alone, reminiscing over the past 40 years trying to come up with appropriate sentiments for my friends passing is more difficult than I ever would have anticipated. I am usually not shy for words but I find it hard to consolidate a lifetime of events, emotions and love into a few short sentences of remorse, loss and encouragement.
I allow myself to be distracted easily by others surrounding me, guessing about their lives and where they are headed. The couple to my right seem like newlyweds, the promise of love and life written all over their faces. The couple on my left haven't had a kind word to say to one another since they took their seats. They keep their simmering anger at a high-pitched whisper. I feel sorry for them, if they only knew how short time could be. Multiple kids are out of control while their parents seemingly are in a state of oblivion... they don't appear to care about the rowdy misbehavior. I nudge my suitcase closer to my seat to keep obstacles out of the way of a potential accident.
I find myself imagining if there are others in this waiting area who are going to say goodbye to someone who has encompassed much of their lives. Are they setting out to visit a loved one, or to attend a funeral or a wedding?
I try to use my laptop but it seems inappropriate, to technical. I pine for the yellow lined legal pads that remind me of my friend who would scratch all over these with his schemes, numbers and musings until he perfected whatever project he was working on. I laugh at my arcane reasoning and decide to pick up a pad at the Airport shop, if they still carry them. It will put me in the right frame of mind, make it easier to write, scratch, change and laugh at the likeness to my friends mode of composition.
Writing on a legal pad, with cross-outs, rewriting and scratching, even though I haven't completed a cohesive thought, I don't feel totally incompetent because I see the remnants of my efforts, the spent verbiage scrawled all over the canary pad.
How do I express my feelings of loss now, when I've wittingly said goodbye to my friend before he passed? Are there no tears left? They've already been shed during the past few months, it's time to rejoice now because he has passed onto his Heavenly reward, he will see God and ask the questions we've all wanted to know our whole lives.
However, I am left behind without words to share, to express the heartfelt empty spot in my heart that has been vacated by a lifelong friend, If I express rejoicing at his future, some will never understand as they are waiting to be consoled for their own loss and grief. My words will not suffice nor will they fill the void left behind for them.
I lean my head back to rest my neck on the back of the faux leather seat in the waiting room of Spirit Airlines. I'm listening to the rote buzz of the Airline personnel explaining to the exasperated passengers about the flight delays. It occurs to me that even with my eyes closed, trying to block out the noise, I could probably recite the whole weather pattern from New England to Florida. Why to these passengers keep asking the same questions, over and over? It won't speed up the plane.
For me this delay gives more time to find the forte to express my emotions with gravitas now that I am confronted with the passing of my dear friend. I think to myself, if I could just ignore the bedlam in this waiting room, surly I could find the words. Nothing comes.
Suddenly, as if the thunder outside found a home under my seat, I'm jolted to attention. How could I have been so oblivious to the obvious?
My friend and I, no matter how far we were from one another in distance, found laughter and humor in our life's various disasters and challenges. We actually named our adventures and journeys as being on God's Holy Rollercoaster; not the Ferris Wheel, the House of Mirrors or Horrors. but the breath-taking ride that had is ups and downs. We knew we'd be fine at the end. Even though we didn't relish the next, we knew there were others to come but we always knew laughter would follow and that God was the controller and in charge.
My friend took his last rollercoaster ride without me to share his experience, but I was privileged to say our final goodbyes and enjoyed his laughter at my request to put in a good word and to try to get us the next winning lottery numbers.
It's twilight as our plane glides through the sky, brushing aside the downy of left over rain clouds. I muse about the window gazing of my youth and smile as I picture my friend on those marshmallow trampolines. I crane my neck to look through the nearby thick plexiglass airplane windows to find that first bright star to wish upon that star tonight. I deposit my prayer to hope for a mild ride to the end for my friend.