|Corey Scott on the left, me on the right|
"When Corey died, my mama called trying to comfort me/ That night I did not sleep/ I sat alone, tears in the dark/ It's been years, still hold a broken heart/ Don't know where to start, just trying to make my brother proud/ He looks down on me high from a sea of clouds..." - My Song Cry on my 2008 hip-hop mixtape Necessary Evilz7 years ago... I experienced a typical college day for a student. My morning consisted of several classes at Tennessee State University. After my last class meeting, I stepped outside; the sun illuminated the wet blades of Nashville grass. Here I stood searching for something meaningful in life. 22 years of age, 600-miles away from friends, family, and comfort. Comfort. I can't recall exactly where I heard the following statement. I was reading a book and I came across a powerful truth "With comfort, there cannot be greatness." Thus, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to find something greater, something meaningful.
That search for greatness was redefined on an October afternoon. At Dillards, I checked my Facebook account and noticed a message from one of my best friends, Robert Croston aka Rob C. As I read his message, I reread the words over and over. My heart dropped to the floor. If this was a nightmare, I was eager to awake. Unfortunately, I wasn't sleeping.
Twenty minutes later, I was leaving Dillards. Speeding down Interstate 65, I didn't have the strength to restrain the tears from pouring down my face. My mind flooded with images of debate competitions, basketball practices, outings at fast food restaurants, SummerFest, Milwaukee Bucks' games, and more. As I entered my apartment, I crawled up the stairs to reach my bedroom. Closing the door behind me, I collapsed to my knees near my bed. In a midst of tears, I cried out to God. I felt anger, confusion, and bitterness. After my nerves calmed, I prayed to God again. This time I thanked God for allowing me to have such a genuine friend in my lifetime.
I was raised in a Christian household. I attended church every Sunday. My family and I put on our "Sunday best." We washed our cars on Saturday in preparation for Sunday. Every Sunday, Grandma filled the kitchen with the aroma of soul-food. She looked like a scientist operating multiple appliances in prepping our weekly feast. In my upbringing, believing in God and attending church was a tradition. That tradition continued until I became a teenager.
As my friendship with my best friend matured, we pushed each other in various aspects: academically, intellectually, emotionally, and athletically. My best friend exhibited a delicate balance of street smarts and book knowledge. Emotionally we both dealt with anger issues and both used sarcasism. In terms of athletics, I had never met a guy who could play several sports with such a high level of skill. He dominated the game of basketball, threw a beautiful spiral, and could pitch and hit on the baseball field. Our bond strengthened through a love and talent for basketball. Intellectually, he possessed a keen sense of politics and history. It inspired me to read more and watch more political shows on television.
The beginning of our sophomore year of high school, my best friend found Christ. He was reborn. He encouraged all of his friends to do the same. He wasn't pushy or preachy but he was direct. He frequently spoke of things he begin to see in each of his friends. He wanted us to be greater. He saw that God had a purpose for our lives and he tried his best to bring us to Christ. Rob C. fell first. He dove into Christ with a hunger for purpose. Our friend Matt resisted. He came up with every excuse in the book to miss church service. Big Wood began to attend church but he didn't show full commitment. Possibly because of my upbringing, connection to several pastors (Grandfather, great uncle, uncle, and cousin), or observation of my father changing his spiritual life when I was young, I fell for Christ. I fell hard.
My best friend gave me that. He taught me that going to church was not enough. He proved that you could be yourself and be a committed believer. He loved God without inhibition and continued to be hilarious, sarcastic, and cool. He taught me how to believe in God and myself. He showed me that change was possible. He gave me hope. His life gave me life. If you've ever lost anybody, you know how difficult it is to move forward. Using my best friend as constant motivation and inspiration, I have matured spirituality since graduating college in 2008. My best friend lives on through my academic accomplishments, career trajectory, submission to God, and love of God, family, and church. God blesses us all with specific gifts and talents for a reason. So when I think back to that October morning as I stepped outside after my last class and stared at those shiny wet blades of grass, I take a deep breathe. I have found my purpose in life. I would not have found that without God. I would not have found God without Corey.
God puts special spirits into your life for a reason. Surround yourself with positive people. As you grow spiritually and desire a better life and future, you will outgrow some friends and acquaintances. But when two kindred spirits align, if you genuinely love someone, you will inspire to grow parallel to them. I love all of my friends, but I will never have a closer friend than Corey. He's my brother forever. I can't wait to see him again.