Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Real Value in a Shared Dinner
He sat quietly for a moment, hands folded and head down in thought. He then looked up and said, “Michael brought him to me, I know.” He spoke, referring to a neighborhood kid he had started mentoring that was good but on the wrong path. “I needed him, I needed a reason to get out of bed. I needed someone to need me.” I believed he was right. The change was measurable. He wasn’t quite his old self, but you could see, the glimmer of hope that one day, he believed, he would truly be able to breath again.
It was the first time we had Peter over in ages. Ironic, since I talk so much about breaking bread and reaching out. Peter...Peter is different though. To see him is to rip a bandage off a festering wound. The loss of Michael is on him. It reminds me of how much I miss Michael and how different this would all be if only he were here. I know these encounters are hard for Peter too, sadly, for the very same reason. Several months ago when he was over he said, he knew he would cry the whole way home, because it didn’t feel right that Michael was not there. What can you say to that? It was true. It was like breaking a leg a mile down a deserted path and having to endure each painful step to get to help. But you keep walking forward, because what else it there to do really?
It is horrible to see someone you love in such pain. It is more horrible when you share, at least in small part, that pain. However, it has almost been a year, and he was finding some purpose again. He was still putting one foot in front of the other and he was getting somewhere. So was I, and I knew in that moment that it would never be the same. I knew I would always, in some small way, wish Michael had been there. I knew though, that we would all laugh out loud together again, and Michael would say a blessing of love over it all. So this night, we just ate our meal, and talked and healed … just a bit.