For Michael, in lieu of my presence at his party

4 06 2011

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Tonight a whole host of my friends will be gathering in a little house on the corner of 24th & Dravus to celebrate the past, present, and future of Michael Louderback. It grieves me that I will not be there to take part in the singing, dancing, feasting, and secret sharing. But I will not allow a mere 1,661 miles of distance between us to keep me from honoring you, Michael.

It strikes me as utterly laughable that I was ever intimidated by this precious man–and he by me–but such were the walls we had to scale before we could be friends. He was held at bay by my bushy man-beard and my penchant for silence. In my eyes he was one of the cool guys who I had long ago learned would not have much time for me (unless he needed help on his homework)…and yet…there was something about his easy smile and ever-present laughter that made me long for things to be different. I wished for the opportunity for our lives to intermingle.

That possibility arose on the occasion of his roommate’s birthday party, where the spirit of revelry (and a child’s sandbox-pail full of vodka) gave us the courage to peek over the walls of fear and see what wonders might lie on the other side. I treasure that evening in my memory, for it brought me to the door of a remarkable, transforming friendship.

Time spent with this Jake Gyllenhaal-loving, better looking than Justin Timberlake, powerful man is a true treat. He has a yearning for kindness in all its forms and the audacity to ask for that which he desires–and to live out that kindness with everyone he meets. His humility is infectious. The insight of his questions–about himself, the world, human nature–is matched only by the tenacity with which he grasps his ever-elusive answers.

To know Michael is to love him and to be inspired and changed by him.

When I look at the life stretched out before me, the knowledge that he will be in it for years to come is one of my greatest sources of joy.

Gosh Michael, I’m so glad you were born, and I’m so blessed to know you.

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