Today marks 15 years since my friend John and I decided to become friends. Sounds strange doesn't it? People deciding to be friends. That's how it was though. We were acquaintances at the time. We were friends of each others friends, but after one phone call (I called his house to speak with his roommate who was not home) which led to a 2 1/2 hour phone conversation, we decided that we were just going to be friends. And friends we were. We laughed with (or at) each other, we talked about all kinds of things, we trusted each other, we respected each other, we lived life as great friends together, walked through joys and heartbreaks together, and we cried with each other on occasion. In the next two years following, on April 13th we could either call or email each other and say, "Happy Friendiversary!" He was one of my best friends. And yes, at that time in life, we were best friends without any awkward emotional boy/girl stuff. Just pure friendship. In fact, one of my favorite times in life with him was watching him swoon over, woo, and get engaged to one of my very close friends!
11 1/2 years ago we lost John to a very rare form of cancer. Despite the fact that he is no longer here with us on earth, he is still very much in my heart...and in the heart of so many that knew and loved him. If you knew John, or have ever even heard of him, you know that he was a prankster, he was a fighter, he was energetic, creative, and musical -- he could play any instrument handed to him, and to top it off, he had one of the most amazing singing voices. While he was one of the biggest punks you would ever meet, he had a love for Jesus like no other. In the 2 1/2 years that he battled cancer (and he battled HARD), never ONCE did he ask, 'why me?' Sure there were days he was frustrated, not feeling well, so over being sick...but he never questioned God. He drew nearer to Him. He played the piano, wrote some amazing worship songs, and taught quite a few of us what it really meant to rest in the presence of God. He knew he was dying and he wasn't afraid of it. And, being the punk that he was, he often times gloated that he got to see Jesus first.
There are many things that I miss about having John here. I would have loved for him to know Markus -- he would loved Markus. He would have asked him to say 'California' just to see if he sounded like our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (because they are both Austrian) -- and he would have thought it was funny, even though it's really not. I would have loved for Markus to know him. For him to meet my kids. To have gone to his wedding. To have gotten to know his kids. To have had dinners together. Sharing friendship together as two couples rather than just two friends. I miss doing life with him as a friend. He is not easily forgotten. I have a few pictures (long before the days of digital cameras), heaps of memories, and thankfully, because he recorded a CD of his songs not long before he died, we have his voice. I am so thankful for that.
And, once again, like every year on April 13th, I say out loud:
Happy Friendiversary John Edward Biggs!