Friday, May 13, 2011

Memories..Sweet memories

This is something I just don't talk about much. Never have really. My entire adult life I haven't spoken of my sister Angel much. I don't know why, but I just don't. It's that private section of my life I don't let people in. I don't know why I feel compelled to do so today, and to do it over a blog is weird, but writing thoughts down is therapeutic for me.

I got this a few years back for her. My dad has the same one on his forearm without the flowers.

Have you ever noticed that after someone has passed that person is put up on a pedestal, and 100's of stories are told about that person for several days or months later. Some probably true, but a lot are untrue or at least exaggerated. I think as humans as a way to grieve is to begin generalizing that person. We say things like, "they always did this...or always did that" but in fact they didn't. For instance, if I were to pass away today a lot of you might say, "John always played his guitar or was always into music" but in truth I have only played music for 11 yrs. Most of my life was spent on a basketball court. I think we do this to try and hold on to those memories of that person, so we connect them to some story or some activity. 

I don't think that is a bad thing at all, but for me when I lose someone in my life I try and remember how they laugh or how they smiled. I try and remember certain nuances that may have continually did. Even how they talked. For me this helps remember them more. I try and hold on to those for as long as I can.

Unfortunately with my sister Angel, I can not remember any of those things. I can't remember her laugh, smile or the way she talked. She was killed in a car accident in 1989, and since then I can only remember the stories others tell about her. I only have a few memories I can actually see in my minds eye. (great   dc talk song btw)

That thought saddens me and maybe that's why I don't talk of her much, because there is not a lot to say. I have talked with Sherra a few times about this. About how I can't recall those memories.  I wish there was a pill we could take to bring those memories back up. Some of my friends may read this and say, "John it's called LSD" but for real I wish I had those memories back!!

The stories that people tell of Angel make her out to be just that an angel. Stories like how funny she was. How when she walked in the room no one else mattered. How she had this grace about her that you couldn't explain. How strong of a christian she was. How Angel never and I mean never met a stranger.

You see I don't have those stories, but I do have these. She was an amazing sister. She loved me so much. She use to write me letters (snail mail) from college. She loved her family. I know she was a gifted basketball player, because she received a full scholarship to Baylor University. Not everyone can do that. I know she was beautiful. I know she had great style. She had great taste in cars. She drove a cherry red 1956 Chevrolet truck with a rattle snake head on the gear shift. How boss is that? She had great taste in music. (Van Halen was her favorite band.) She was tall. She was 6'3" with dark skin, dark hair, and green eyes. I know she loved the arts, because she painted and wrote poetry a lot. Angel was my kinda girl, and I would love to just chill with her and shoot the preverbal breeze with her.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been impacted by her life if she were still alive today. Would she married? Would she have kids? How would she have handled Baylor winning the women's NCAA championship in 2004? Would she like the music I write or would she say it needs to sound more like David Lee Roth? What would my son think of her? I know she has impacted my life so much through her death, but I will ask God when I stand before Him...WHY? 

My advice, hold, touch, laugh, cry, smile, kiss, and listen those you love so much that you never forget the little things.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friends are friends FOR-EV-ER

I love friends. I love having people in your life that know you for who you are. I love having people in your life that have your back no matter what! Other than my wife, Jody Pickett is my best friend. We are separated by a 1000 miles, but if I needed him tomorrow he would be on a plane in a heartbeat. I may not talk to him everyday, but as best friends you are not required to do that. Best friends are secure in their relationship with one another. A phone call everyday doesn't justify that relationship. It would be nice to talk to him more, but sometimes that just doesn't happen.

My staff and I recently watched the old movie Stand By Me, with River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and Keifer Sutherland. If you haven't seen that movie stop what you are doing and go rent/buy that movie now. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

It's a movie about young friends and how those friends can come in your life for a certain time frame, and life happens, and they can just become faces in the crowd. In the movie Will Wheaton and River Phoenix are best friends, and at the end of the movie Will Wheaton's older version (played by Richard Dreyfus) says he has never had friends like he did when he was 12 yrs old.

I had three of the best friends growing up as a kid, Matt Cook, Josh McKaskle, and Aaron Hawley. These guys were with me through some of the best and worst times of my life. All the funniest and coolest sleep overs involved these three guys. All the Nintendo games we set new high scores on and beat the final bad guy (except for Ninja Gaiden) all involved these guys. All the delirious state, Coke induced, Twinkie dosed late nights all involved these guys. When my grandfather and sister passed away with in 5 months of each other, these guys were there for me. These guys were just part of the family. My sister still calls them all Josh Gist, Aaron Gist, and Matt Gist. They were my brothers.

Oh Ninja Gaiden how I want to beat you!!

As we grew up and our lives took different directions, we lost contact with each other. Josh is an electrician in Louisiana, has a son, and is about to re-marry. He and I have had a couple a "bump ins" in the past year or so, but things are just not the same. Our  conversations are always pleasant, but it seems like light years from when we were younger. Matt joined the Navy out of High School. He moved to Delaware and is now married with 2 beautiful baby girls. The last I spoke to him was on Myspace.... HAHAHAHA....and he seems to be doing great! Aaron is a high school choir director at the High School Friday Night Lights is based on. He and I talk a good bit still, and see each other over the holidays. He and I have stayed the closest throughout the years.

I really wish I could have stayed close to those guys. I wish we could all still hang out together and be "kids" again. But....that's what happens in life. Sadly, people come and go in our lives, so take a moment now to just thank God for the people in your life. Be sure to spend more time with them and be sure to tell them how much you care, because you may look up one day and they maybe gone.