Once upon a time, I knew a great man. His name was David Marocco, and he was a passionate high school principal, math teacher, and all-around get-it-done wizard who never seemed to tire, unless he was driving. He prayed for us. We knew, and often pretended not to care. He was a man who would walk the beach before dawn, praying and beating rocks as a physical manifestation of the battle he was waging on a very different scale. If he wasn't so kind, so incredibly wise, and so able to work hard until reality matched what sounded like fantasy, you'd think he was crazy. David Marocco loved all his students. He taught me what it was to pour into someone's life by pouring into mine. I often wished he would leave my emptiness alone. He saw potential in everyone, from the boy in seventh grade with the second grade reading level, to the girl who was always watching the exits. He only ever saw men of power, warrior women who charge into battle without looking back.
When I try to explain to people who'd never met him what he was like for those of us who went to his very small, very Christian, very loving school, I say he was the closest thing to Dumbledore I'd ever met. His kindness and unquestionable love for every student was as well known as his idiosyncrasies and phrases that no one else could ever say. We loved him back, and loved to imitate him - sometimes to his face. He was no one's hero, and everyone's. He is the kind of man you did not forget; at the same time, you'd remember his Chocolate cards and catchphrases first.
Recently, our Dumbledore died, and the lights went out.
It was not like losing a friend, where you feel a void beside you, the eyes that should be meeting yours in the middle of your sentence. No, Mr. Marocco left a void ahead of me, a world painted in his prayers for a future that isn't the present. Losing him was to become an adult, to know that I now have to be the warrior and the woman he saw hiding inside the most scared child I have ever met. It was impossible to meet David Marocco and not see his dream through his eyes. Even now that he has earned his reward and finished his race, I can't blink his dreams away. I can't forget what faith feels like--the feeling of hope that rises like a single drop of oil in the drowning flood of my natural despair.
I tried to write this twice, once on Facebook and once (poorly) on Snapchat; "Sunrise" is about him. Today, for the first time since I found out he was gone, I felt that I was ready to carry on with his level of dreaming. Far too many of his absolutely impossible ideas came to pass for me to call it insanity. In the quiet tower of my heart, above the rising tide, I feel the colors I used to wear wrapping themselves around my soul, reaching out toward the future that he painted on the water.
I am one of the luckiest people in the world: I knew Dumbledore under a different name, and I know I owe it to him, that we all owe it to him, to make the world a bit brighter, and to rescue as many as possible from life without love. Always.