Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stanley C. - Rest In Peace

It took two days, but I've finally gotten choked up and a bit teary-eyed over my neighbor's death after an invitation to his funeral with his picture was slipped through my mail slot.

His picture at right shows the good-natured smile and kind eyes of the Stanley I knew, no matter how briefly. Even though a person can do some bad things in life -- and some vices remain -- it's possible to be a decent human being.

I am not a religious person, but my cousin left a quote from the Bible on my original post about Stanley that I thought was beautiful:
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28 ISV
Boy, was he ever weary and loaded down with burdens -- as far as I could tell.

My wife also left a good comment about Stanley (in response to a rather negative one) that I thought was worth putting here:
"We're all in this together. We are all flawed as humans, some of us more than others.

Addiction is a terrible problem and whether you see it as a disease or not, nobody WANTS to be an addict. Stanley fought his addiction his whole life, and he lost. But that's not the most important thing to remember about him. The important things are that he cared for his mother, was a kind neighbor, volunteered at the Whitman-Walker Clinic (when he was clean) and maybe most important is that the whole neighborhood mourns him. Last night a cop car pulled up, and it was a cop nobody recognized, and we all thought he was there to hassle us for drinking on the front porch, but it turns out he was there to pay his condolences.

Most people fuck up at some point in their life, and those of us who are fortunate enough (and maybe strong enough) to overcome our fuckups should have some sympathy for those who can't.

A few years ago I lost a very close friend to addiction, and I am so, so glad I never stopped being his friend even though he gave me many reasons to. Now when I remember him, I remember the funny, smart, angry friend who I would argue with about politics and share music and make fun of the jocks in high school, and my life would be poorer if I didn't have those memories.

- Katie"

Thanks so much for sharing your connection to this man. Your ability to see past all the reasons why some people may call this man "a piece of shit" and see him for who he was--a person, a human being, a fellow traveler on the road, is encouraging. If more people were like you and Stanley, the world would be a very different place.

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