It was a little over a month ago that the email
popped up in my inbox entitled URGENT!!! All caps, several exclamation point
s, I'm thinking that somebody's going to inform me that once again, they can't make rehearsal because they need to let the dog out
, or some other lame reason. I opened the email quite casually, never expecting what I was about to read.
My close friend, Paul, had been killed by a drunk driver early that morning.
Note: It is not a good idea to send an email informing a friend of the death of someone close to them. This is generally viewed as severely insensitive.
I thought it was a sick joke. Firstly, I thought I knew the person sending me this information well enough to assume that they'd never send me an email like this. Secondly, I had just responded moments ago to another longish email from Paul, who had recently started making a concerted effort to get to know me closely. He had been writing me for weeks, telling me of his dreams, asking me to share mine, talking about his father's death a few years back and how that affected his life, discussing how God moves and uses people...
But it wasn't a joke. I made a few calls and verified the information. Paul had been hit while stopped at an intersection on his way to his job at the post office. The driver had been drinking and was going in excess of 90 mph.
I spent quite a while in my car in the parking lot outside my office building, weeping into a pile of napkins because the woman in the cubicle next to me couldn't find real Kleenex.
Paul was 29 years old. He was a stocky man, had no conception of his own strength, and gave excellent bear hugs and advice. He would rub my temples, scalp, and forehead when my head ached. He'd walk me to my car if it was dark outside. He wanted to be a pastor and was working two jobs to save enough money to launch into the ministry. Paul was humor, warmth, excitement, and child-like wonder personified.
And I miss him.