“But I just saw him… But he was just at… But she… But they… But…”
“But he was just at the white house with the president!” That was my response and part of my reaction to seeing the news about Lynn Manning’s passing. If I can be frank, I hear myself saying comments like these a lot upon hearing about someone I knew passing. It’s as if it’s impossible for someone to exist and then cease to exist. But isn’t that what life is about?
I remember the first time I experienced death of someone I knew. A fellow classmate of mine was skateboarding and got hit by a car. He was in the hospital. Friends were visiting him in the hospital and reporting back to me how sad they were for him. But I knew better. He’s going to be fine. Dan was always doing goofy things. This was just another one of those times where he will bounce back. He’s going to be fine.
I started to get more and more annoyed with people telling me that they visited him in the hospital and were worried. They would even ask when I was planning to visit him myself. If you know that someone is going to get better, why go to a place where they aren’t? It was almost as if I felt going to the hospital was agreeing with his situation but the longer I wouldn’t go, the more chance he had to leave the hospital and be better. Maybe a quiet a protest. Dan, I will not come to see you until you stop messing around and come home. For goodness sake the prom is right around the corner.
One day my prom date called and said, “Did you hear about Dan?’ That was it. I let him have it, not a piece of my mind but the whole complete entirety of how I felt about the whole Dan situation. “I don’t know why everyone is acting like this is so tragic. Everyone is acting like this is the end of the world. It’s Dan! I don’t know why everyone is acting so sad. Dan is going to be fine!” There was a brief pause. Silence. “Lori, Dan died.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I actually feel that was a possibility. We weren’t the best of friends but I felt like I just knew. Just knew what?
But he was just…
Now, I’ve been out of high school for well over 18 years. I’ve experienced all types of loss and even death. Death of those close to me, death of those not so close, death of dreams, and of plans. One would think I’ve gotten to a place where I would understand the uncertainty of life and be well prepared for the unexpected. One would think I’ve gotten to the place where I could just embrace the whole with life comes death thing. One would think.
The reality is that pretty much everything is temporary. Things, people, circumstances can change at any given time. It exists and then ceases to exist.
I like words. Looking at the word exist I see the word exit. There is an exit in this existence. According to Merriam-Webster,
“The Latin word sistere, meaning “to stand,” “to appear,” “to stop,” or “to put,” gives us the root sist. Words from the Latin sistere have something to do with standing, appearing, stopping, or putting. To assist, or help, is to stand by someone in order to give aid. To consist is to be made up of a number of thing put together. To exist, or have actual being, is to appear real. To persist is to refuse to stop doing or saying something.”
I think it’s interesting that in none of these particular sist word examples do we find resist.
“to fight against (something) : to try to stop or prevent (something)
: to remain strong against the force or effect of (something) : to not be affected or harmed by (something)
: to prevent yourself from doing something that you want to do.”
I guess in a sense I resist the idea of there being an exit in this existence. But why? What is the alternative? To just be forever? Wouldn’t that get tiring? It works for God but we are not. We decay. Exist forever?
If there was sunshine forever would we appreciate it forever? Wouldn’t things get dry? Wouldn’t we long for a change? But sunshine is temporary. Then there is rain. If it would rain forever, wouldn’t that be a pain? One might go insane in the eternal rain on the window pane and it might just be a drain.
There is beauty in temporary and the temporal. I can appreciate the sunshine and the raindrops. Even moreso, because they are in fact temporary. I tend to take things for granted so easily. So, I am thankful for existence and exits in existence. I will dwell on the gift of knowing, meeting, coexisting with people of extreme caliber. People who were not satisified with merely existing. People who insisted on persisting in this game of life. People who resisted being labeled and put in a container of those things consisting of always needing assistance in every part of existence. They choose to stand, appear, stop and put. They choose to stand for beliefs, change, justice, appear to not just make appearances but act and guarantee assurance to stop and put an end to conformity, confinement, and conditioning that condemns.
Lynn Manning, it was a pleasure. Thank you for leaving the world a better place than how you found it. Thank you Lord for allowing me to cross paths with such a soul as this. Truly an inspiration. I am truly inspired.
Just thank you for giving me the greatest
Lesson Before Dying.