Old friends and the passage of timeI haven't posted what could be termed a regular or ordinary blog entry for the last few days because of the visit of a dear old friend of mine, Jason Howard, and his lovely wife, Debbie. Jason and I have known each other ten years this fall, and in that time we have both finished college, had multiple jobs, and ended up on somewhat different career paths than when we began.
In the fall of 1996 when we met, I was a sophomore in college, while Jason had just graduated the previous spring and was working on some post-graduate work-he was still unsure what to do with his life. We spent many a night together smoking cigars and talking about politics, faith, or whatever struck our fancy, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning, and if these sessions occured on a weekend they frequently involved the Grand Ole Opry blaring over the radio in the background. Oddly enough, we are only three years and four months apart in age, Jason is my senior. He took a job with Proctor and Gamble working on the formula for Comet (then a P&G Brand), and got to travel the globe at company expense, yet he was not fulfilled in that line of work. I remember one evening on the phone he candidly told me that this was not what he would have himself doing the rest of his life, and I reminded him of the long days and nights we used to have discussing the state of the world, the political state of affairs, the public square-and the legal system-and then I asked: "Have you ever seriously thought and prayed about going to law school?"
Jason went to the University of Dayton School of Law. After he graduated and passed the bar, he served for a couple of years not only as one of my best friends and closest confidantes, but also as my personal attorney. When Jason met his wife, Debbie, I was introduced to her shortly thereafter. I was a groomsman at Jason's wedding (his brother Travis was best man), and when I married Nicole, Jason was my best man. We have one of those rare friendships that has survived over many years and many changes in both of our lives and even geographic separation.
One of the things we reflected on this weekend as Jason visited was how the country and the world and society in general has changed in the ten years we have known one another. We decided that we did not find all of the changes to our liking. Use of the internet has become far more common and affordable, but crimes related to the internet (especially sex-related crimes) have become almost commonplace. We could not have dreamed ten years ago that society would be dealing with the difficult ethical questions related to embryonic stem-cell research. We agreed that the direction we are collectively going that devalues God's creation of human life is dangerous and deeply troubling, and perhaps wreaks of Brave New World.
Over a chew of tobacco on my front porch we discussed the results of the recent election and what we obviously didn't like about the present balance of power, but we agreed that a lot of good could come out of the current situation in the end, and we talked about possible positive scenarios for how the Election of 2006 could prove to be beneficial to our country in the long run.
Most of all, Jason shared his fears, anxieties, and hopes about his decision (after much prayer) to open his own law practice. We prayed together about this and consecrated the entire enterprise to the glory of God.
What I found most amazing was just how much things had changed in ten years. When we met, we were single bachelors with a fondness for cigars, whisky, and ladies. We found our small apartments quite suitable and to our liking. Today we are homeowners, in somewhat better fiscal condition, far more serious about life, and happily married old coots. Yet you don't often realize just how much things in your life change until you sit down with an old friend and remember.
We also remembered the veterans who paid such a high price to make weekends like the one we enjoyed possible.