Nothing lasts forever. What are the ways to cull life’s treasures from its shattering defeats? My memories are a tropical rain forest mix of wonders, love, miracles, adventures, terrors, venom, & agonizing fear and grief. I was thinking today that if I could select out a sweet medley of some of each, I’d be happy to harvest closer to the middle of life’s highs and lows, to try to find a peaceful blend. That’s easier said than done. The scripture (Philippians 4:8) comes to mind: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
David A Shadle (Jan. 25, 1951 – July 19, 1999…Overlooking the ruins of Persepolis, not far from where we studied, Shiraz, Iran in 1971. Miss you and thank you for all the good you brought to our world.
David was good at just about everything he tried: love, fatherhood, camping, track, tennis, studying, music (a drummer), basketball, business, mechanical repairs, art, communication, and that was with very little practice or effort (by his own confession, not by my judgment). He was thoroughly organized and neat. Everything had its place. Organization was a practice he learned from his father and unsuccessfully tried to pass on to us. He’d wonder how far his talent might have taken him had he honed and practiced his skills like many others that he had admired. What was that about? Maybe the Marianne Williamson quote applies- afraid of how great he could have been and what expectations might have come with that achievement.
Did he know he was battling demons even when he was young? He was NEVER, I repeat, never, a bragger. He was modest. If anything he minimized his achievements. There is pressure at the top, and he had come close in sport and music to pinnacles. Here’s my favorite example…
In Iran, when Shah Reza Pahlavi visited Shiraz University, the music department needed a drummer who could play anything by ear. They wanted an Iranian student, of course. Not some long-haired American like Dave. Nonetheless, Dave outperformed all other drummers. One other American, a cellist also performed in the concert. Due to tight security, the concert was by invite only, and all of us Kent State University exchange students were prohibited from attending. But we did hear Dave was a hit at the concert. His picture shaking hands with the shah was front page news in the next day’s paper.
There is only one limiting factor that I can imagine when it comes to Dave. He always seemed unafraid to me. I can’t picture Dave afraid to give his all. If he believed in it, he committed to it. Whatever fears Dave had he didn’t share them aloud. His confidant and personal adviser was alcohol. Primarily, rum and coke or possibly orange juice and coke. They were his army of two; the army that tortured and blasted away the multitude of talents and gifts that he possessed. They also gave him release and escape from what…. I don’t know. Addiction is like that. It just is. You can’t challenge it. You won’t win. Addiction isn’t something you can bargain with. Believe me, I tried. I was always a bit jealous of Dave’s easy way with people. He had loads of friends. He cared for his plants like they were humans. He never forgot to give his dog a treat. He was full of life and had the biggest heart and sympathy for nature and underdogs. He would give the shirt off his back to someone who needed it more. He was too sensitive to kill a spider. They’d get shuttled outside. One exception to loving all nature…. in the vac & sewing shop, inside a vacuum bag, he was personally offended by cockroaches. Cockroaches often got nuked in the microwave. LOL. Most of all, to Dave, I want to say thank-you for Jake & Josh, for always believing in me, and for teaching me my #1 lesson, that God is Love. Pray for us, hug Jake, & help me to always see the good.
How do we grow & protect the lovely matters of life that are tossed in with the ugly and the painful? I am making it a goal to be braver, more open to all that I am, being present to it, and then communicating- uncovering, letting out, and laying down in writing, embellishing- all of it: life’s buffet table. I expect this process to be hard but beneficial. I expect to see more rainbows, butterflies, hear more birds singing. Josh is in Boulder, CO. But if he were here, I’d ask him to play the drums. Dave said Josh was a better drummer. On Jan. 25, Dave’s birthday, I’m having a rum something in one of Pop’s (what the kids called their dad) drinking glasses (that’s what Joe calls those plastic glasses- Pop’s drinking glasses), and perchance I see a cockroach- I’m nuking it. Here’s to you David A. Shadle. RIP. (Philippians 4:8) “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Preserving the good takes effort. Whether its Persepolis’s history of thousands of years or Dave’s 48.