Matt and I graduation walk
There are few history majors or minors in most universities. So it was that many individuals shared a majority of your classes. One young man was notable for his brown nosing of the teachers and his positive friendly attitude. We sat next to each other for many classes and study groups and became good friends. During one such group, he mentioned going home to his tiny home town for the holiday. Not only had I heard of it, my husband had lived there as a boy. We discovered their close friendship in kindergarten that lasted until my husband's father died when he was 7 and the family moved away. Small world. Matt and his wife Gail took me as a project that summer since Briz was away in Alaska. Countless dinners were shared, blessings given, debates held. They even moved me into another apartment. Later as couples we became close, even sharing our little pug Ming.
Briz, Matt and Ming
Today, I remember this long friendship which has lasted 17 years on my part and 35 for my husband. I remember the countless acts of service over the years on our behalf, help with the sprinkler system when Briz was again gone, pianos moved, conferences and books shared. I remember them because tonight I witnessed a new group of people introduced to his goodwill and people orientation.
We drove up to the red brick house, decorated with black balloons and entered without knocking. The world would end if Gail did not have the table covered with treats, and though we were early, there were already many people sampling the goodies prior to our arrival. A 50ish woman had made the cake, young families with small children stood in line waiting for Gail to dish their ice cream cones, fellow city council members strolled in and joked with Matt about falling asleep or flatulence in council meeting. A shy and backward 16 year old sat on Matt's lap for a minute and he showed no obvious discomfort. My children ran in screaming, "uncle Matt!" College aged young women arrived, one in creative black funeral attire, followed by a cohort of men in dark suits, which I discovered were the stake presidency, taking a break from their meetings. What a strange cacophony of guests we were. I listened to snippets of conversation and gathered the expected information about each of their relationships to Matt. I heard of lives changed through his influence, countless acts of service and love. I witnessed how he has continued to reach out wherever he is placed in life. We left early though I longed to stay to see who else would pop in.
Today I take away from the "funeral" experience a desire to reach out to others unlike me quicker, more fully, and more often. I marvel at his gift to relate to anyone and to radiate love and caring for each person large or small that crosses his path. He is 40 today. I doubt the midlife crisis has a handle on him. His years have been too well spent.