Friday, March 6, 2009

Chop Wood. Carry Water.

Often, when faced with a challenge, one of John's favorite phrases was, "Chop wood. Carry water." Meaning, throw yourself into essential tasks. Stick with basics, but be productive. I found myself hearing his voice saying that this morning as I hauled in some fire wood, and found myself thinking, once again, how right he was. If there's a regret that I have, it's that I could never make him understand his impact on those who met him and knew him. He never understood what a force he was, but maybe that was best.

As I sat with my neighbor last night, we got talking about John. I found myself at a loss to adequately describe him. Adjectives kept failing me because they sounded so trite trying to describe such an extraordinary life... words like amazing, inventive, funny, intelligent, talented, direct, intense, tenacious... I kept trying to paint a verbal picture and couldn't get the light just right, couldn't get the colors perfect... I could tell it ended up looking like a Picasso given my neighbor's somewhat perplexed facial expression.

Who the hell was he? He always said, "I'm just a guy in a chair, trying to make it through." But that's not good enough... that doesn't explain what it was about him that yanked my soul into another dimension, doesn't explain the footprint (well, tire tracks) that he left on this earth, doesn't explain why so many who knew him would say, "He can be such an asshole, but I love him." And who am I that he was ever mindful of me? That I was allowed to spend any time at all with him? That I was gifted with such an incredibly rich love? Who was he? Nobody special... just a guy, really... but oh, how I miss him. Oh, how I wish...

The grief is never gone, see? The weight of the loss is never any less heavy. I just chop wood... carry water....


  1. We truly had our treading waters at times....but I will tell you one thing. That man, he was my 'brother' and my brother gave me a lot to learn from, in more ways than one. I will not ever forget the strong words he used in an email for me to pull my head out of my ass. If it hadn't been for that day from reading an email...I know where I would be this day and it would not be here. He had a lot to say and I finally bucked up and soaked them in. How do you describe him? A man with a heart as big as the sun. A man with words that branded MY heart. My brother, my best friend. Thanks for sharing your blog sis. I miss John so so much. And I miss you more than you will ever know.

    Must go now and dry my tears...:/


  2. The grief is absolutely not ever gone!


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