Opened up Path for the first time in a few days. Guess whose posts are all over it.
You could always count on Rick to be the first one to try out a new social gizmo. Miss ya, buddy. with Rick – Read on Path.
I shared a version of this at Jamestown today, but I wanted to get it down in a more permanent format for posterity. And I think Rick would be pleased that he got me blogging again, one way or the other.
I’ve been doing the online thing for a lot of years now. And one thing that never changes, whether Facebook or Twitter or 1990s BBS, is the initial awkwardness that comes with meeting someone in person. Because people are never the same in person. You may get to know someone’s online persona, but you have to meet them to know them.
Except for Rick.
The first time I met Rick Stilwell face-to-face, it was at a conference. He was sitting with a couple of coworkers at lunch, and waved me over just as casually as can be. It was as if I’d known him for years—because I really had. The man you saw on Instagram or Google+ or any of half a dozen other networks was the real deal. And that is a rare thing. Most people you meet through a computer are genuine and worth knowing, but you usually have a great deal of ice to break.
As I followed his interactions online and read his thoughtful blog posts, a couple of things became clear. First, his “online friends” were his real friends. Second, though he would give you his last cup of coffee, his family came first. Anyone who followed Rick longer than an hour could tell you how devoted he was to his wife and two children. In fact, through him, you kind of felt you knew them, too. And last, he pulled off the difficult trick of letting you know where he stood without becoming divisive or off-putting. His values and priorities were clear, but RickCaffeinated was never RickOpinionated.
Lately I’ve been looking for a few mentors, older guys who can teach me something about faith and marriage and parenting and navigating through life. Over the last couple weeks, Rick’s name kept popping into my head as somebody I’d like to take to lunch on a semi-regular basis. He was a few years older than me, and his children were older as well. He’d have been the perfect mentor. And now it’s too late for that.
The more I think about it, though, the more I realize how much of his wisdom I already have. His blog. The things he posted on Facebook, Twitter, and all over the rest of the Internet. He was a mentor to me without even trying. What a blessing it is that such a great man like Rick chose to put so much of himself out there, on the record, for us all to see and learn from. So if you’re reading this and you wonder what the whole #LiveLikeRick thing is all about, go see for yourself. It’s not too late.
Thanks for everything, Rick.
So Christopher Hitchens died. Wow.
Discussion at the next table has turned to the objective nature of truth. Brain candy.