Peace brother, Dan Haase
It must have about seven years ago that the first meeting took place. I believe it was our Spring Break and I was enthralled with your sister. Naturally a meeting of the family was in order. The opportunity to go to Mexico arose and we boarded a plane. Or, should I say we eventually boarded a plane. I remember being impressed about how welcoming and celebratory you were toward me, especially in light of the extra mileage we added to your life, as you were so fortunate to visit the Mexico City airport twice in two days.
This, I have come to see, is but a natural response of a Gulick to the impediments of life. I saw in you a flexibility and willingness to serve. As the visit went on, I came to see this even more. As I was thinking on your life and the bit of it I have come to know and experience, several descriptors have come to mind: compassionate, youthful, devoted, loyal, loving, giving, faithful, hardworking, passionate… I am grateful for the opportunity here to speak these words that are often, and foolishly, not said to those we love.
Some of these things I first took note of on that visit to Mexico. I remember walking down some mountain together – we were getting to know one another – you were sharing the story that is yours and Annette’s. From that initial conversation to this day, I can honestly say I have often thought of how you treat her and love her with such devotion and tenderness. It has caused me pause in my own life as I consider what it should look like for me to love Kathleen.
I have seen you as the wild Uncle who might be forty but is all boy. There you are, tossing the nephews into a pile of pine needles then more chasing and wrestling. This is the same grown boy who laced on shoes that could give him a bit more slide through life; because if there’s a rail, you’ve got to ride it. Even as I write, I see the smile – do you know you smile a lot – such joy is contagious and so good to be around. You’ve reminded me to stay young.
Then there is the life you have given to others. Whether that is in a very non-American “come on over for dinner” and you stay and you stay and you stay (I remember getting to experience this Mexican hospitality) or as you sit at your desk each day and do the work you have been called to do. As you continue to travel the world whether by car, plane, bus, or net know you are thought of somewhere just twenty-five miles outside of Chicago. You, that guide of passion who met us as we stepped onto Mexican soil – I remember you spent the whole time walking backwards just so you could look at us as you talked. I think I thought to myself, “is this guy for real.” And you were. Your passion has always brought excitement into my day when I am around you. I’ve seen it when you’ve just acquired the newest in techie advancement, or as you’ve suggested some of the ancient ruins we must see, or when you have a fact the world needs to know, or when you talk about Annette and the work you are able to do together. Your life, in the small time I have known you, has spoken to me. I will be celebrating that life with you as you head over the hill and draw nearer to the horizon.
Peace brother, Dan