My friend is faraway… but no matter where he is in the world, he is on my mind. In my mind so much, I had to get him out of my thoughts and onto paper. This is how I see him (inspired from a photograph by Beth Varro) I look into his eyes and see the man he is becoming, the man I hope he will become, and perhaps the man he already is. Across his neck and chest are the two continents he will be walking across during the next two years. He is going on a Great Adventure, and even though I will not travel with him, my hopes will be with him. He may be endeavoring to lead a more Heroic Life, but he’s never had to do anything grand for me to make him my hero. Today, when he talks about heroism, he explains it as being emergent and that the goals and criteria for leading a more heroic life is to take risks to help others. If you ask me, I believe that what makes a friendship heroic — where two people become each others’ hero — is when those people endeavor to take risks to help each other and encourage each other to take bold steps to improve each others’ lives.
Whether or not he feels he deserved it, asked for it, or ever wanted it, even after years of long distance, I’m his faithful friend no matter what. What did he do to get to be my hero-friend? I can honestly say that, from the very beginning, the kind of friendship he and I have shared has been one where we both have taken unnecessary risks and gambles in our investments in each other’s lives. He may not have ever pulled me out of a burning building, but he got me out of dangerous and tricky situations. He also dared me to confront my fears and insecurities. For example, I never learned how to ride a bike. I was 32 years old and he taught me how to ride!
It was an equal exchange of help and care. I reciprocated in any way I could, convinced him to try new things or see things in a different way, he did the same for me. We didn’t have to agree on everything, in fact having two unique perspectives on life was a blessing. Together we were a very creative and productive team. I cannot speak for him, but nowadays my connection with him is all about inspiration, a key element to keep me going.
After reading about all the work he’s doing and the experiences he’s collected under his belt now, I wanted to pay him back for the inspiration and hope he has given me. With this painting, I hope to send him a vision to inspire him to be as great as he makes feel whenever he tells me I’m awesome.
Thank you for letting me share my vision of my friend with you. And thank you, Rogue Priest, for the memories and all the good times to come!