Tag Archive: Johnny

John MontacueDear Johnny:

I have to admit that over the last several days I have thought of you relentlessly. Love is not easy to write and my heart grasps for that which seemingly cannot be said. Johnny, regardless of your challenges and difficulties, I found you to be such a beautiful person.  Your laughter, enjoyment, love of guitar and politics were my first thoughts.

In a beautiful way, Johnny seemed bigger than life. I remember you with a grasp that remains elusive to me.  You were able to touch and bond with people in ways I never could. And in truth, in many ways, you are and remain more the man than I will ever become.  All of us has themes which pour throughout the stories of life. Yet, I have found everything changes but change itself.  What I loved most about you Johnny was the unchangeable. Like many before could attest, I found an uncommon bond. Like me, you could understand those in pain; like me, you could understand the strength in overcoming disability; and like all of us, you struggled and fought through many difficulties. Yet you overrode common thoughts of being puny or weak.

No one knew better in the power of words. Your ability to see and cut through tedious political rhetoric was astounding and remains for me today as a guide. Your intellect was deep, often requiring considerable effort and gave hope to those embattled in life’s struggle. You relished learning and public service. And while often feeling slighted, I believe you experienced satisfaction in knowing character contributed greatly to the direction and success of your students. You taught them well.

As I flew over the Rocky Mountains this morning, I looked down upon all the masses. The seeds of your life lay not in some uncommon burial ground in Southern Illinois. Rather your spirit and life remains stowed in the treasure chest of all our hearts. We embrace you and remain a treasure all would have been honored to know.

Unfortunately, some of the brightest flames burn quicker courses. But your flame forever etched my soul. Oh Abba, wherever Johnny resides, I know he has the immortality of love surrounding him and I believe that because we live, he lives.  As I looked upon stars the stars, I remember an Eskimo legend:

Perhaps they are not the stars,

But rather openings in heaven where,

The love of our lost ones pours through,

And shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

Johnny, I will always carry you in my heart.

With Love … your friend.

Cloud Atlas“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”

~~David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas~~


Several days ago, I read of a friend passing in December of 2012. Johnny lived unknown to most.  Yet, as a paraplegic, he was a remarkable man. I remember his laughter, love of politics, his guitar music and his smile. He is so much more the man I ever could become.

If one held his hand, he would instantly bond. I cannot explain, but he had something special. He was an instant friend and whenever I was in Southern Illinois one would seek to find him time and again.

I restlessly thought of Johnny these past days.  My unease and restlessness was self-created. I traveled near and far. “Ah, too busy,” I would say. “There will be another day.” I convinced myself with lovely phrased internal deceits until the one I miss becomes so deeply missed.  My very angst displays the many life lessons remaining to learn.

In watching the movie “Cloud Atlas,” I found some peace. In essence, Cloud Atlas is about the world you see and those you don’t. Six interrelated and interwoven stories span different time periods. But Cloud Atlas’s riveting story lines and nonstop action veil weighty lessons about bigotry, oppression and resistance. All things are interconnected.

For the true Buddhist, everything is interconnected. The crux of our own individual story is that every action has a reaction. Maybe our role changes throughout life. Maybe we learn one lesson at this moment while learning another more poignant time changing experience another. Does this sip of whiskey that currently nips my lips impact my life now as much as it does later?  Can we carry love and hatred forward at the time our death? And more importantly, does one believe all living creatures experiencing awareness deserve an awakened life, either now or forever? Will I connect with those whom I’ve lost and loved somewhere between here and heaven? Will I remember Johnny for all his strength and love of life?

In truth, to condense such a wonderful man into a homily of words seems next to impossible. Yes I will remember Johnny. I will remember his life, and want to see him again, again and again.

So Johnny, in the words of David Mitchell:

“I believe there is a another world waiting for us. A better world. And I’ll be waiting for you there”

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