I met him at a retreat center called Kirkridge in Pennsylvania back in ?.
Was it in 1991, or 1995, I cannot even remember the year.
I know that the month was January for every year in that month Kirkridge hosted a retreat for Christian gay men.
Bill was from Chicago. He was a delightful man (and of course I had a crush on him).
It was a safe crush because he had a boyfriend back in Illinois - a relationship which I respected.
But we stayed in touch by 'phone.
I remember one call in which I laid out all my frustrations at being an Episcopal Rector in Pittsfield. MA.
Bill cut to the quick. He said "Remember Michael that you are a human being, not a human doing".
Good Lord above, I needed that!
After this when I had not heard from Bill in a while I called him. The 'phone was answered by an unfamiliar voice.
I asked to speak to Bill. The response was silence until the person at the other end asked "and who are you?" (It was Bill's partner).
I explained who I was. Fortunately Bill had talked to him about me.
Then came the bitter blow. This good man Bill had been killed in a car accident on a Christmas Eve, when his car had hit a patch of ice.
I wept buckets. His bereaved partner wept too.
Dear Ann P. of Pittsfield MA will remember that I made a late night 'phone call to her and blubbered away on the 'phone, knowing that she had a good and non-judgmental ear. (Thank you Ann).
All these years later I am sad that I cannot remember Bill's last name. I am sad that I have lost the only photo' of Bill which I once had. I can see him in my mind's eye.
Even as I write I have tears in my eyes.
Even as I write I am grateful for Bill's wisdom, and for Ann's listening ear.
He said "Remember Michael that you are a human being, not a human doing". Good Lord above, I needed that!