Ryan Leach

I’m one of the older dudes that Chris used to hang out with. Adam Caress and I were roommates with Dave, and I have known Chris since the first time he came up to visit Dave at Gordon.

To be honest, I felt a bit scared when I got the ask from Nadia to share, mostly because I don’t have a ton of old “Chris stories”, as my real closer friendship with him has been more recent, and I have a dreadful memory. I woke up thinking about him at 4am this morning and I realized that my discomfort was more due to the hole that I feel created by the now never to be filled longing only to know him so much better. I was so looking forward to hanging out with he and Nadia this summer as I knew they were moving back to Beverly. The last time I hung out with him was grilling on my back deck the night after the Beverly block party Caspian show. I thought that would be the first of many this summer. It turned out to be the only one. I think so much of my grief surrounds that horrendously massive loss of potential. I wanted more Chris in my life.

He came over a bunch of times over the last few years to hang out, randomly- grilling on the back deck or drinking beers with the boys in the garage. He was such an easy hang out. I don’t really know how to say this, but he always brought so much to any gathering without ever detracting. I guess what I’m thinking there is that he could have been a real arrogant ass. He was a very “cool” guy, but never ever brought anything but sweetness and appreciation for you and the others around him to the party. I think I can safely say that I have never heard him name drop or self promote. I am shocked at that realization as I write it. I think I dropped his name in my own self-promotions more than he ever promoted himself. (How many of us were living vicariously through Chris?) But, you knew about the cool things in Chris’s life by his fascinated presentation of them, or by a sheepish inclusion into one of his enjoyments or good fortunes: like his Audi or a good Scotch, or his band and their adventures.

Chris, in my experience, was living life and loving people in so many ways that I really respected. I saw him infecting people around him and bringing them up. He brought more life, more love, more interest, more enthusiasm, more engagement, more hope to everyone he met and touched. You felt like life was more doable from his example and through his presence. Why not just smile and let it roll? Why not drive the car you really want to drive or drink the scotch you really want to drink, and share it with a friend? Why not let the other person speak about themselves and learn about what makes their experience of life interesting? Why not seek to glorify God and others over and above oneself?

Chris was generally awesome at those things, and I appreciate what he was able to pull out of me. He was an enrichment and a blessing. His smile and love brought God’s kingdom with it, and man was that beautiful.

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