Many of you, particularly my social media friends, have already seen this story, but I’m sharing it here to reach a wider audience to celebrate the love that has been showered on my friends. To those who are familiar with my friend Kellee, her battle with cancer and her journey to Disney, I ask you to continue spreading this type of joy. To those who are just now discovering this tale, I realize what follows is lengthy, but the payoff is worth it as, at least for me, it has helped reaffirm my faith in humanity.
Our words carry weight, with messages both subtle and obvious. People are listening, often paying close attention, whether you know it or not.
Some choose to hide behind a message of hate, tossing off words without a care in the world who gets harmed in the process. It’s sad that all that’s being asked is tolerance; that’s not even acceptance. It’s merely the absolute least that can be provided – “yes, I tolerate you.”
There is, however, another choice.
Last week, the Georgetown News-Graphic published a column I wrote in response to a married couple’s letters to the editor bemoaning the fact that same-sex couples now share that same right to marry. The response, fortunately, was overwhelmingly positive, with friends and strangers alike sharing the love.
One, though, stood out, and it’s with the family’s permission that I share this story:
Her scar stretches across her skull, from one ear to the other, hidden at first behind a scarf, later by her hair, kept short partly for style, partly as a reminder. But it’s there, it’s always there, a faded smile left behind on her skin from the hands of doctors (or, if you prefer, the hand of God). The scar tells us to live and to love, to be patient and forgive, to pray and be thankful.
And so, I need to tell you about that scar.
David Rule, known to Powell Countians as Bro. Rule, in a portrait by Tim Webb.
David Eugene Rule, better known throughout Powell County as “Brother Rule,” died Aug. 6, 2012. His influence on me, particularly my writing style, was tremendous. I owe him much gratitude; I’m thankful I had the chance to let him know this.
I can’t imagine how many others can say similar things about what he meant to their lives. He might be the only truly good man I’ve ever met. He didn’t just preach love, he lived it.
His impact will be felt for lifetimes.
My parents hadn’t given up on me, even though by all accounts they probably should have. I hated them, for no good reason, other than the fact I was in my early 20s and they weren’t.
They tried to reach out to me. I refused, time and again.
Then someone reached out to them, they graciously accepted the offer and I was fortunately too young and dumb to realize I was being parented by proxy. I’m not sure when Norman Watson called my mom, telling her he’d talk to me, try to make me be less angry, less sullen, less bratty, less negative.
I’m just glad he did.
Music, however, is forever.
I turn 35 today.
About a month ago, during a late-night conversation with a close friend, she asked what it’s like to turn 35, if I had any regrets, if I was happy.
I answered then, but it didn’t come out the way it should have.
I guess I should’ve answered like this: