Serve #6 – Save a life
Serve #6 is of a friend of mine named Erik. I suppose this story is a bit about my life and how Erik is a part of that.
Erik and I have been friends since we were about four or five. We dreamed big dreams like playing professional baseball, and being billionaires driving giant, four-wheel drive trucks. You know, cool guy stuff. We entertained ourselves for hours playing catch, maybe tackle football, or surfing in our red snow sleds down the snow-laden hills near our childhood homes. The years when we were just little guys flew by, as often they do, and the teenage years started to come on hard. It was at the age of fifiteen for me that Erik’s “Serve” comes into play. It was a difficult year for me; my Grandpa Bassett died and I was not able to play football. My grandpa was a guy who I told some of my troubles to. I suppose I did that because he wasn’t my dad and it felt like he would listen, like Grandpas often do. Typically he was listening with a cigarette in hand, and a sentence or two that had some sort of resolve of the years of life lived in it. Add to that, I was a bit of an outsider to the “in” crowd, or really any crowd for that matter. My spiral of emotions during this year was incredibly tough and I internalized far too much. The pains of being teased by fellow classmates for all the unknown teenage reasons wore my emotional strength to a barren thread. During this spiraling time in my life Erik’s friendship remained the same, constant, tried and true. My popularity factor didn’t matter to him, we had been through a lot; to him we were friends. My spiral however was still going on and in my mind, my selfworth was non-existent and here is where the story comes into its fullest meaning. In the bottom of my spiral I felt it best to end my life with my shotgun. I had loaded my gun and while fighting back my sorrow had begun to bring the shotgun towards my head when the phone rang. My Mom answered it and in her best nasally mom voice yelled up the stairs “Erik is on the phone, and he wants you to come play catch”. That moment in time changed what likely would have happened. If there was one thing I was always up for was playing catch, you could throw the ball hard, talk a little , but most of all just be friends. Erik really saved my life that night. He was my friend in a desperate time of need.
I look at my life today and know that each person who is a part of my life, each photograph taken, each word spoken is possible because Erik served as my best friend. The way I care for people today is due to the road I have traveled. I try to let that caring heart for people come out in the words I speak on a daily basis, the photographs I take, or in the wave to the person who I made eye contact with.
You never know what your words or actions in a day might mean to another. It may just save their life