Following is one of the final Facebook posts by my friend Harry Krueger. He wrote it on May 16 of this year (he passed suddenly on June 8, 2013). I think I’ll be reading it at his memorial service (unfortunately this isn’t the first friend’s funeral I’ve presided over, nor will it likely be my last).
Thanks for sharing the journey, Harry. You are a beautiful soul, and your presence and grace will always remain.
When I was 15 I traveled by car, moving across the continent, from the noisy, skyscrapered, subway-laced congestion of New York City to a promised land of sun, beaches, mountains, deserts and Disney in Southern California. Back then, before turn-by-turn electronic navigation, a TripTik map from the Automobile Club was the magical directional genie, guiding through the seeming endless maze of unexplored miles to the Pacific.
Amazingly, my father trusted me to be the unquestioned “tour director” of our journey, being given absolute freedom in choosing the route, as well as all National Park and Monument visits, and assorted other sightseeing stops (of which there were as many as a carefully studied, circuitous itinerary would allow.) The only glitch in this dream-come-true for my developing travel and exploration addiction (I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, 4 US territories/commonwealths, and 21 foreign countries) was dealing with those sometimes less than accurate AAA strip-maps. Although I’m now sure that my Dad knew it all along, he followed every left and right, straight ahead and turn around direction that came out of my mouth… even when I knew I was desperately lost yet stubbornly refused to admit it.
How could I divulge my guilt that I didn’t really know where we were, should be, or were going, and had made a mistake… with so much trust and dependence riding on me? So, numerous times we wandered on… until by either unconscious, blind nomadic fortune, or more likely, a knowing, but innocuous, suggestion by my Dad, we were on our way West again.
Years after, my personal experiences mirrored my teenage adventure in many ways. I had tools of knowledge at my disposal, leadership training and influence responsibilities unquestioned, and a prescribed goal set. I was formally educated with Masters degrees, knocking on Doctorate’s door. But the reality of life wasn’t quite as expected, desired, or dreamed.
Disappointment, loss and grief, guilt, trust betrayed, fear, missed opportunities and turns… all came mercilessly crashing down, all too relentlessly. There was a time when huddled in my darkness, praying for light and comfort, desperately seeking love, fearing abandonment, and wishing an invasion of peace, I comforted myself and others with disguised platitudes, rigid formulas, and hope shrouded in feigned spiritual understanding. I “knew” I had the answers to life’s mysteries neatly wrapped up, while on another level, at the same time, I also silently admitted I didn’t have the slightest clue… And sadly, I and those with me were lost.
So, I did the expected while trying to keep a step ahead of those depending on me. But I often found myself strangely out-of-step spiritually, organizationally, and philosophically. I just didn’t seem to fit into anyone’s expectations. I was the rebel that didn’t lack for a cause, just the understanding of what it was which always seemed to be beyond reasonable reach. It seems I spent an eternity trying to make sense of an outdated but unavoidable, advertised as infallible, map, while the answer was right there with me all along.
What I’ve ultimately found is that Love dispels the fog of uncertainty that each turn of life holds. Just as the patience, kindness and compassion of my father was always right there in the car with me (actually he was the driver and had control, not my ego), so I’m delightfully finding that the Love within has been present all along… calmly leading, gently prompting… asking the sometimes hard questions that are really new paths of fulfillment and life… urging me to let go of my self-inflicted guilt and messiah complex… whispering an invitation to enjoy the “scenery” and every “new town” as part of an unseen plan beyond my comprehension, yet delightfully open to my unlimited participation and enjoyment. Love is intimate while public, encapsulated in my heart yet everywhere around me, fully mine and everyone’s at the same instant, the essence of molecular energy although also the ruling force of the Universe, the occupant of the seemingly insignificant but also God.
Each mile, each minute of Life now unmistakably echoes “Love wins!”
~ Harry Krueger, May 16, 2013