But I believe that love is the answer, I believe that love will find the way
While on my way to drop off cardboard at the township building where they have special bins, an old Blessid Union of Souls song came on – I Believe.
I remember when I was still in high school, about 14, that was the song I’d sing at the top of my lungs with my friend Tony. On a cool summer night, you’d find us cruising down main street or the back roads of Clarion, windows down, sun roof open, song blasting.
I never had a very good voice, but Tony never cared. His voice was like silk.
One night we stopped at the 7-11 on the corner of 8th and Main. We bought some Lightening Snapples and headed to the Top of the World – a small piece land in the sticks that was on top of a hill. From there, on a clear night, you could see three towns. It was cold out, but we didn’t care. We sat on the roof of his car, with our feet in the sun roof, heat blasting, wrapped in blankets. We had Blessid Union of Souls playing. We laid there, staring at the stars, talking about everything.
When “I Believe” came on, we got quiet. We listened to the words, even though we already knew them all. It was dark all around us; nothing but starlight. You could see our breath quickly dissipate into the night sky. When the song was over, he looked at me and said, “I want that to be us. I want us to always do good; be good.”
Tony believed that wholeheartedly. Somewhere, deep down, I think he knew who I’d be when I grew up, even if I didn’t. Some days he believed in me more than I ever could.
Years after he died, I was sitting alone in my apartment feeling sorry for myself. I went on Napster and found “I Believe.” As I listened to it, I cried. I got angry. I missed Tony. I missed having the feeling of being in control of life. I was so disappointed in who I was in that moment.
If Tony had seen me like that, he would have hit me upside the head and given me one of his great toothy grins. He always hated to see me so down, and stopped at nothing to cheer me up. Now, with him gone, I only had me to do that. I had to figure out how. It felt impossible, and I felt even more alone.
When the song was over, I wiped my tears and put the song into perspective for me.
Walk blindly to the light and reach out for his hand
Don’t ask any questions and don’t try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
And you will see that you and me aren’t very far apart
Even in death, he’s still there. He’s with me. And even though I don’t know 100% who he would be right now, I do know that I’m doing exactly what he said we should do.
Earlier today the FedEx guy dropped off a package. Our neighbor kids were out, with their grandma. She asked, “Wow, I’ve seen that truck drop off a lot of packages for you guys over the past few weeks. Early Christmas shopping?”
I explained to her what I was doing, and she immediately asked, “Oh? For a church group?”
I said, “No, it’s just something I do.”
She said, “Well, that’s a good thing you do.”
I told her, that while it’s good, it’s overwhelming to the max. Of course, in the end it’s completely worth it, but gosh it’s stressful.
So when a few minutes later, as I was driving, and that song came on, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, it was Tony talking to me. It was the feeling I got. It was the way the kids got quiet in the car as I sang along. For some reason they knew that that wasn’t the moment to say anything. Tony needed to tell me to press on. To take it into perspective and see the big picture, not the moment. I felt a calm come over me.
I got to the township building, let the kids help me put all the cardboard into the bin and then drove off to the gym. I tucked Tony’s memory back to the back of my mind. And I smiled.
Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say. While I don’t think for a second Tony knew he would die at such a young age, I do believe that Tony saw the bigger picture from the beginning. The way he talked, and listened was beyond his years. The way he treated me and spoke to me, I was always respected.
There are some days that I miss him so much, it almost hurts to breathe. My eyes fill with tears instantly and I just wish he would be able to answer my questions. And some days, he comes into my life, seemingly out of nowhere and reassures me I’m doing okay. I can never explain it.
I just miss you, Tony. I miss you.
But I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way