Last week I received an email notifying me that my childhood best friend's father passed away suddenly. He was a pastor (I'll call him Pastor L.) and whenever he took us anywhere, he would talk to us about the importance of faith and spirituality in that Protestant narrative style that makes even very young children carefully consider these topics of great weight. I'd be a better "show-er not tell-er", but Pastor L.'s daughter and I hadn't been in touch in years so I don't feel comfortable giving more details. The point is, even though I am no longer a religious person, he greatly influenced the way I think today. May he rest in peace.
I can't decide how I should feel about his death--on the one hand, Pastor L. was an important figure in my personal development. On the other hand, his death has no bearing on my day-to-day life. Perhaps this is one of those conflicts we grow to understand as we grow older. The absence of important people in our lives cannot stop life from continuing. It will go on, with or without you.
I have thought about this constantly since I moved to Taiwan. I have responsibilities and a life here, but it feels like it exists in isolation from my "real life" back in the states. In my head, everything will be right where I left it when I return in July, but in reality, I will not come home to the same place. A family friend got in a serious car accident and has been hospitalized for three weeks. The college friend who once told me "The only reason I would save the whales is so I can eat them" is now working for some green project in New Hampshire headed by Al Gore. One of my friends dissappeared from facebook (she's not the type to quit), and it was only after several failed searches that I realized she'd dropped her maiden name after getting married.
It's June 1, which means I only have a month left in this place. Everyone keeps talking about how they're ready to go home. Certainly I am ready to leave, but I'm also unsure about what going home really means in this case. It's been a year and a half since I've spent more than 3 days in Ohio, and I'm afraid that I may long for a familiarity that no longer exists.