On Friday morning, I made my way through the headlines of our local newspaper and saw that a Wisconsin man had been killed in a plane crash in Tennessee. Why I clicked on that headline to read more, I don't know. When I did, I was struck that the Wisconsin man killed was someone I have known since I was a kid and was best friends with in my late teens to early twenties.
Adam was learning how to pilot a plane so he could be a missionary in Africa. He and his wife sold most of their belongings and were preparing for a three-year journey. I only met Adam's wife once and didn't even know he had children. I haven't seen him in 10 years so I'm going through some strange emotions of mourning for a friend that I haven't had in a long time. Our friendship waned before he met his wife-to-be.
I don't necessarily have the right to grieve and I don't want the burden. But I can't stop thinking about Adam and how his parents, siblings, wife and children must feel. It was a terrible crash. Memories of church studies, our time together the summer after high school, time at college, letters and phone calls when he was in the Navy, one-sided unrequited love and working together have been trickling through my mind. His gentle countenance and acerbic humor stand-out.
Adam and I enjoyed a lot of the same music and movies. My brother reminded me of the time we went ice skating - Adam's first (and probably last) time. He broke his ankle within 30 seconds. Adam was a romantic. I'm sure the times that he watched When Harry Met Sally numbered in the dozens. He expressed his interest in being a pilot to me so I bought him Wind, Sand, Stars by Antoine de Saint Exupery, the aviator that wrote The Little Prince.
However, I think a lot of young adults aren't true to who they are to become and I didn't know Adam as a true grown-up. I didn't know him as a husband or father. I didn't know him to be so brave. He only lived 38 years but it sounds to me that in the last 10, he really lived. So I will finish this entry with a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery that seems to sum up the Adam I didn't know:
The notion of looking on at life has always been hateful to me. What am I if I am not a participant? In order to be, I must participate.