From Numb to Stumbled Mumbling
I’ve been trying to figure out how to express what’s been going through my mind and heart the past several days, after the news on my old friend Ian Murdock. I just haven’t been able to put coherent thoughts or words together. But every moment that goes by, the more pressure there is to just write something. Ian didn’t live a perfect life, but he deserves more honor from me than mere silence. And I know in writing I expect I’ll experience some relief. I don’t know. I’m not happy with these words, but I believe I need to write them, as raw as they are.
Things I Wish I Had Said
Your life matters. Not because of what you’ve done or what you can do. Far more intrinsic than that. You’re loved. You’re perhaps not even half way through a life of experience for you, and impact on countless others. Imagine what can be done with the years left to us. You are made in the image of God, amazingly blessed, loved beyond measure. You’re treasured by the One who matter most. And a whole bunch of the rest of us.
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t let pride be a thief and steal your life away. We can walk out of the darkness and shame of today into years of light, greatness and joys yet unknown. Imagine your life right before Linux and picture the world as it has unfolded since. There’s another moment like that in the here and now – every moment is a doorway into that kind of reality. Don’t close the door.
Can we watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” together, please? Let’s get together and watch George live, Ian.
A Mountain to Paint, Then to Climb
I have such memories of those early years, when we were just getting to know each other and geeking out together. There was a world to explore and conquer – a mountain to paint and then to climb. You could see so far, and yet in such detail – so rare! You had a vision for something that I only saw as a utility. You astonished me with your ability to manifest and realize a grand idea in your mind. You were fearless, or oblivious – it’s always hard to distinguish those at that age.
I’ve read countless messages from people from all around the world in all kinds of languages. That is one measure of a life’s impact. I know, too, that Deb and the family have other stories to tell. I can still see her smile in my mind. I’ve ached for you and the family over these years. I wish I could’ve seen you both smiling again. I don’t know the story of how things turned, and I don’t need to. Life is complicated and sometimes cruel. But I know, maybe like a fool, I’ve longed for the friendship we all had back then.
It finally dawned on me that as I’ve called up those memories over the years, I wasn’t just looking back – I was looking forward. Maybe we all do this. In remembering those times, there was an expectation, a presumption, that we would have moments like that again. We were just too busy “now” to make that happen. But I was so sure, we would. Eventually.
I hope to never forget that cold, snowy late night in West Lafayette when I called you and Deb and merely said, “SNOWBALL!” and hung up. Moments later, my wife and I, and friends of ours were in your front yard having a spontaneous snowball fight, waiting for you two to come out. Maybe you were too tired. You didn’t join – but we bothered you anyway and came in to warm up and dry off in your cozy house. The pictures we have capture moments in time of just plain care-free youth and fun. We had dug down to earth and snow, and (I’m sure) some coffee together. Care-free! Such a contrast to your final tweets, and I ache for you still.
Showing a Mechanic the Ignition
I’m really not prepared to remember details at this point. I know when we first met, you asked to come over and check out what I had done with Linux so far. I assumed you were some noob. After all, you were in the School of Management. What could you know about computers?
But I quickly found out you were far more than that. I felt like I had showed a mechanic where the key goes into the ignition. Things were just getting started, and you went to places unimaginable.
Unwelcome Emotional Concoction
I’m very sad. And angry. And so confused. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve been left to deal with the questions and pain after a tragic death. Not that this is about me. But it is about many of us on this planet still trying to deal with the last hours of your life. Many of us are dealing with this emotional concoction.
I’m proud of you, and profoundly disappointed, too. The gap between what is and what should be is enormous. And impassable. That cuts right to the humility of our humanity. We can’t do anything about that right now, and it’s painfully humbling.
I loved you, Ian. And I love your family. I pray for them, and for us all. The Ian I knew is going to be missed – not just for what you had done or could’ve done, but for who you were.