Less than three months ago, my friend, Sam Wagner, was diagnosed with lung cancer. I attended his funeral service this morning. He didn’t smoke, he was married with three children and he was 38.
Obviously, I’m deeply saddened and am sympathetic for his family (especially his children). But for me, I just don’t know quite how to feel because Sam and I had only started getting to know one another. We had a couple robust conversations about faith and theology, especially when, at times, they seemed out of place in the communities of artists to which we were both drawn.
We had just started listening to records together. Both ardent fans of bands like Starflyer 59, Joy Electric, The Church, Slowdive, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and The Choir, we plotted out the bands we’d listen to the next time we hung out. He couldn’t wait to return to my place and listen to The Boo Radleys and The Darling Buds.
Sam was like a muse for me, encouraging my work in My Science Fiction Twin. In fact, when he was diagnosed with cancer, I hurried to finish mixing our new EP. He told me he would create the cover art for it. (I’m still not quite done with it.)
Growing up, I used to hear that some people were “so heavenly minded that they’re of no earthly good.” While I think I understand that cliche’s sentiment, I still think it’s balderdash. We live this life under God’s loving gaze, and I think it’s only natural that we long to be physically united with our Creator. Sam’s in heaven now, and I’m a little envious.