Greg Justis, Katie Justis, and Deborah Hartmann, on the occasion of Greg and Katie’s Wedding, October 22, 2011, Louisville, KY
photo by Gary Justis
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Please consider several things:
With time, you will come to know that missing portions of your own memories and thoughts is a crime the maturing body commits in secret. Waves of uncertainty sweep away the crisp thought forms of youth. There is the unavoidable shroud…it is the province of time and flesh. It forms the adored man.
Sometimes you might discover the world has turned a notch without letting you know, and getting together with folks, especially the ones younger than you, is like water on hot oil—exciting, annoying, joyous and slightly injurious. It may seem at times that no one…absolutely no one is listening. They are all talking at once, and it appears nothing is comprehended. They love you, but they require change and movement.
You may encounter ranting, single-minded people . Some are students nearly overdosed on caffeine or other things, or sincere folks who are unaware of boundaries and simply cannot comprehend the time and scheduling issues of working folks. They have time.
Still others are grappling for some worn out scraps of self respect while they mirror their past speeches where they go on and on endlessly, not hearing other voices, getting in your face, making points that will never be modified by any other point of view or ideas, holding their rage in their head, located somewhere between the top of their skull, extending down to just above the thorax. They are afraid.
You must make a pact with yourself. It must be humble and secret. If it were not private, and you reminded others of your personal pact, you would eventually be ignored. You would not be able to nod to strangers, pet their dogs, or pat the shoulders of acquaintances in social groups. You would die unnoticed, without a whisper of a chance of drawing attention. Your possessions would pass away. Your house would dry and shrink. The skin on your face would crack, and after becoming dust, the pigments would blow away. Your manuscripts would be used for kindling. Your book collection would be dispersed, with image-seekers indiscriminately ripping out page after page of illustrations and photographs.
This would all be regrettable…so you still have to make a secret pact with yourself.
Make it your mission to know people, their hopes and subtle foundations of personal happiness. Sit with them when they grieve. Love their children as if they were yours. Hold their hands as they face tragedy and hardship. Hold back the promise of need and isolation they will inevitably feel, and after their tribulations and solemn tasks have ended, guide them and carefully deliver them home….
Embrace relationships where the other person earnestly comes to know the answer to three questions about you:
What are you passionate about?
What is your work?
What did you do during the 90’s and early 2000’s?
Any person who claims a relationship with you will know these three answers. The questions are ones you might know the answers to for almost everyone you have met and become close with. With some closer friends, you might know more answers, which you can gently consider and hold in your heart…
There are ample intervals where you may hold your beloved’s hand. Be wise in listening to her ideas, and in the good works you will do together.
It’s okay to float from time to time, looking up at the sky. There are enormous clouds there, and the stars, either invisible or brilliant, look back at us…
With love and admiration,
Greg and Katie’s Wedding, October 22, 2011, Louisville, KY
photos by Gary Justis
In June of 2006 I lost my big brother, Greg Justis Sr. He was the husband of Janice Justis and father to Greg Justis Jr. and Riley Justis.
Greg Jr. writes about his father in his eloquent essay, “Pieces.”
Watching this young man mature through these last few years has been a joy. He is astonishingly gifted, and he is fortunate to have found an equally gifted mate in Katie.
“We are so many little pieces, you and I…”
from Pieces, by Greg Justis Jr.