A few days ago, I attended a beautiful funeral service for a friend of the family who battled lymphoma for 14 months. David was a senior when I was a freshman in high school. He was close friends with my older sister and I am close friends with his younger sister who graduated the year after me.
It was too soon for him to pass away. He left behind a beautiful family, and over 200 people attended the service-a testament to the amount of lives that he influenced in a positive way.
I can say that David had a role in the very beginning of my dating life.
I remember a grey Fall day outside our school when my older sister called me over to their group on the blacktop in front of the middle school. Usually this was a scary proposition; my sister's friends were intimidating, popular, beautiful, and successful. Sometimes, out of sheer boredom, her guy or girlfriends would haze me.
But this time, there was a noble reason. My sister said:
"Hey, it's time you learned about asking out a girl. David is going to explain it to you."
There was a fine line between humiliation and exaltation with my sister. She's always been such a powerful person-I felt so fulfilled when she, amongst the hazing, took care of me or stood up for me. It helped me remember that she did indeed love me. Then again, she could be so creatively mean to me, but I still had to respect it anyway.
David put his arm around me and walked me away from the crowd. This really helped me understand that he was going to give me real advice that mattered. He said:
"OK, Rich. When you like a girl, you let her know you're interested by asking her out."
Then he cited all these "power couples" in my sister's class.
"They all did the same thing. The guy liked the girl so he asked her out. Sometimes a girl asks a guy out, but it's not as common. You can give her a pin or something to symbolize that you've asked her out and you are then going out. Just remember that it's a lady's choice, and don't take it personally if she says no."
It took years for me to understand that last part, but I did capitalize on his advice immediately.
I went home and dug up the only pin I could find: a Continental Airlines pin a stewardess gave me. I knew who I was going to ask out: a girl named Liz. Liz was so intelligent that she seemed more composed than the other girls-as composed as a 4th grader could be. So, I left a note asking if I could go out with her in her locker, and wrapped the pin inside the note.
Later on in the day, Liz came up to me and demonstrated one of the amazing things about being a kid. Kids have so few cares in the world, they can walk up to each other and mutter one word at any point in the day and, due to the lack of affairs in a kid's life, they can take out of context what that word referred to.
Liz walked up to me and just said: "yes".
Of course, she ran away after that giggling-starting a long trend of girls that would run away from me (only nowadays they are crying). But, David had helped me get my first girlfriend!
But at the end of the service, I heard some amazing words. The Rabbi who spoke had married David and his wife was speaking. She mentioned how David's wife described their marriage to her:
"It gets better every day."
So Dave introduced me to relationships and dating. I was lucky to have a kind, considerate person teach me a thoughtful and simple lesson. And, today, I now know that once a date grows into something bigger, I'll know it's right when I feel like the relationship is getting better every day.
Thank you, David, for leading an example for the right way to love...from first date to marriage.
I've written that it's not safe or healthy to look back. But maybe sometimes we should look back to remember how lucky we are to have the people we've had in our lives, and to remember what they've taught us.
What would you say was the best piece of love or dating advice you've ever gotten, and who was the person who gave it to you?