Monday, October 18, 2004

Joel Daniel Rodriquez (1982-2004)

“I was going to call you, but I figured you’ve probably already heard from 10 other people by now about the bad news.” [an IM message from Cheryl]

“Nope, I have no clue what you’re talking about. Are you just joking with me, or is there really more bad news?”

It was then that I took it upon myself to visit the ACU homepage, which I’ve visited WAY too often the last week if you ask me. It was then that I saw the news release announcing the death of a fellow 2004 psychology graduate, Joel Rodriquez.

I had had the pleasure of meeting Joel through several psychology classes we had together, but I’d have to say I got to know him the best when I sat behind him in the late Charles Trevathan’s Ethics class. It was because of the friendship that we formed through that class that I decided to ask Joel if he would be my date to the GATA winter social in late January this year. Joel might have never known that he wasn’t the first, second, or even fifth guy I considered asking to this social, but that isn’t what matters. Joel was ecstatic that I asked him to go with me! In his email reply to my asking him he said,

“Do you know that I have never been invited to a social before? Never! I was extremely surprised by you. Well, I would really like to go. I just have to see if I can get off of work and class. I've really only been to Dallas a few times. I just usually go through the airport. Tell me what I should wear and everything else I need to know. I don't want to feel underdressed or over dressed.”

I’ll admit, maybe Joel wasn’t who I would have liked to take the most to that social, but I’ll never forget how happy he was that I asked him and invited him to his first ever social club social.

Joel might have been a little different from the “norm.” Yeah, he brought his photo albums along on the bus ride to Dallas for us to look at pictures of him from the past. And yes, he pulled into the certain lane in the middle of Judge Ely and just sat in his car waiting for me to catch up with him when he saw me walking around the perimeter of campus during Springbreak this past March just so he could say “Hi.” And yes, maybe he started calling me every few nights and talking for like 45 minutes to an hour about TOTALLY random stuff once I gave him my phone number because we were going to go to winter social together. But even with these “differences,” Joel had a servant heart. As it has been said in his obituary and on the ACU news release about his death, Joel loved children and took many hours out of his own week to volunteer with them, especially under-privileged kids.

So, the week of October 12, 2004, has taken the lives of two individuals from my spring 2004 Ethics course at ACU: Dr. Charles Trevathan and Joel D. Rodriquez. While I wish I had access to the email addresses of everyone else from that class just to say, “Be careful!” I have definitely taken a new view on life and realized how surprising life can be and it is important to always live it to it’s fullest! Don’t let things get you down! Find the joy in life and live for it!

R.I.P -- Joel

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