Friday, March 11, 2005

Danny Boy

Today is the anniversary of Danny's birthday. He would have been standing in front of the candled cake, seventeen years old. Instead, his buddies came by the house to see his parents and his brother and sisters -- a wonderful family. Nothing better than friends who won't forget you.
Your humble Contributor hasn't forgotten Danny -- we watched our nephew grow from birth to the brink of manhood. We remember him, and our thoughts from the Fall of '03 when he suddenly left us.

Dan's friends wrote some interesting things about him on the poster board at his wake. Here are a few.

"Keep it Poppin'"

Dan made things happen. It seems like, not long after he started walking, he was driving around the front yard in a mini-ATV -- he couldn't have been three yet. Any motorized thing that moved. Anything that could be dismantled. A tape recorder. What have you.
He was technically gifted -- the kind of guy you would hire to test your security-- bang on it until he broke in. Yes, he hacked the school computer system; but, he lived beyond -- one step ahead. It was almost as if he had to squeeze in a lot in a short time.
"Always Had Something Up His Sleeve"
Dan was the chief of good-natured mischief.
During his last summer, down at the lake, he had my wife, his aunt, flustered as the pontoon boat putted along then sputtered and stalled, then started, then putted, then sputtered, then stalled -- himself in the back, pinching and unpinching the fuel line. Or, his infamous remote-watch: TV's flickering on and off as if visited by a ghost. Not to mention the apocryphal stories on his pranks involving other modern machinery.
Dan reminded us that what we thought was orderly and controlled maybe was not -- a student of chaos.
"The Best Smile"
Dan had two smiles: one that was wide, unlimited, joyful; one that was a little ironic -- like he had something up his sleeve (which he did) or maybe had things figured. Not much slipped his attention. In my occasional, disguised phone calls, I knew that fooling Dan was the acid test. I don't think I ever fooled him.
"The Nicest Kid I Know"
This was Dan's secret nature -- he certainly didn't call attention to it; but, everyone experienced it. I recall especially how good and generous he was to his cousins -- they looked up to him figuratively and literally.
"You Raised A Wonderful Son"
This is hard for parents of a son fifteen going on twenty-one to see. But, it was evident to many others.
"I Wish I Could Have Told You..."
The shortest verse in the gospels may be the most telling. Lazarus died. Jesus couldn't make it in time. When he did arrive, he came to Lazarus' tomb, and he was greatly troubled. "He wept." And, the people said, "See how much he loved him."
It's so apparent that Dan was loved; but, none of us could make it before Dan died. Each of us would want to say something to him: to remind him of something; to encourage him; to apologize for some real or perceived wrong; to thank him; to forgive him; to tell him to "keep it poppin'" until we meet again.
We should go ahead and tell him in our hearts. We believe in the communion of saints -- a union of those struggling to get there and those who have already arrived. He's not here, but he's not gone. Talk to him.
"I'm Praying For You"
Psalm 34 tells us that the Lord is close to the broken-hearted. Since he's close, we should pray to him for Dan -- that he's at peace -- and pray for his family and friends that they be at peace. If we do this, we can transform a loss into a gain.
We believe that life is the journey not the destination. If you believe that this is the destination, then you're bound to be disappointed. In the end, it doesn't matter whether the journey is long or short, as long as you get there. The destination, heaven.
What Maureen Said

Dan's littlest sister, Maureen -- very little next to Dan -- said two interesting things. The first she actually sang -- a polka tune that goes, "in heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here" -- a tune that Dan certainly taught her, but which is theologically unsound. The second came when she saw people crying all around, and she said, "Don't be sad. Danny's with God's son and that' s God. Danny's in heaven." Another psalm tells us, "out of the mouth's of babes...." As we get older, things get far too complicated. We need to strive to embrace Maureen's wisdom.

Mean time, here's to you, Danny boy.


Blogger Ned said...

Simple trust and the most comforting words, child-like faith we should strive for; to find our peace and rest in Him.

3/12/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger palinurus said...

Nice piece. Maureen may be right, and that would be some comfort. But I have a feeling there are some things you never completely get over.

3/12/2005 10:24:00 PM  

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