I am from a different internet generation, one that values privacy and anonymity. That is why I write this blog under a pseudonym and refer to my closest friends by code names.
And this includes one of my best friends: the Doctor.
I call him this not only because he has a PhD, but because of a long standing inside joke we share from our love of the movie Spies Like Us. And that is very typical of our forensic hip. Have you ever had a friend where half of your conversations consisted of quotes and allusions to things only a very small circle would understand? That's the way it is with the Doctor.
I've known him for most of my life. My first real memory with him was after school in the fourth grade. We were tasked to carry desks from one building to another on a cold rainy afternoon. And for some reason we kept singing James Brown's "I Feel Good." It was one of those silly unguarded childhood moments that adults tend to forget to have.
We ended up going to the same high school and we worked for hours behind the scenes on some great and not so great theater productions. We also made movies like "Noriega: A Man and his Drugs" with nothing but a VHS camcorder and our wits. I can still hear him behind me in English class as we began to read Kubla Kahn as the Doctor shouted "Kaaahhhnnnn!"
Those high school years are so formative and lay down such a solid base of nostalgia. We went to different colleges but always stayed close. Eventually his career path took him far away out of state. As strong as most childhood bonds are, the craziness of life and the expanse of miles usually cause us to grow apart as we grow up.
But not with the Doctor.
Whether it was through weekly Halo fights or constant contact, any separation existed only in physical space.
The reason why we have never lost touch is that some friendships are worth the effort.
When I try to describe the Doctor to others, I tell them to imagine Spock, Bones, and Kirk rolled into one. This is an especially ironic analogy considering what Star Wars Geeks we are. But he has the brilliance of Spock, the compassion of McCoy, and yet he can still roll around in the same dirt as we lowly mortals like Kirk.
The Doctor's overwhelming intelligence and talent have taken him all over the country and all over the world. He has even taught religion in Rome. But he has never made me feel inferior in intellect, though I clearly am.
Above all of that, he is a man of immense faith. Do you have any idea how rare it is to find a fellow high school classmate who is not only proficient in Scripture but dynamically orthodox? He knew more than some of my religion teachers then and he knows even more now.
But the knowledge means nothing without the richness of the soul to back it up. In everything he is and everything he does, even if we are just hanging out quoting The Naked Gun, the light and presence of Christ is always with him.
He has that rare quality that is so inspiring: he loves goodness. It isn't that he simply enjoys good things. He enjoys that which is good and true and beautiful and holy because they are good and true and beautiful.
And that joy cannot help but be infectious.
CS Lewis said that there is no sound he loved more than adult male laughter. I don't think I really understood that until the Doctor and I became adults. I was directing a play last spring, and it filled my heart with no small amount of satisfaction when I could hear his oh-so-distinctive laugh. It was in those moments I knew I had done a good job.
And in all of his trials and crosses, I see him more and more sanctified. Each challenge transforms him. And while his pain grieves me, I cannot help feeling a solemn pride at seeing him become even more amazing.
It is a privilege to be his friend, to have watched him become a husband, a father, and to continue to be there for all the future days ahead.
Why am I writing all of this? Because I've learned that while you do regret the kind words you never say, you never regret the kind words you do say.
Friendship is not like romance. Friends usually don't talk to each other about their affections the way husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends do. So a lot often goes unsaid.
The truth about your best friends is that you don't look at them as equals: you look at them as your betters.
There are some friends who you look up to and want to be like.
There are some friends who help you become the best version of yourself.
And there are some friends who accept you completely and let you know that your life has some value.
The Doctor is all three.
My friend, the Doctor.