A Reinaldo “Reini” Cortes

Thanks to this blog, an old companion from my mission (Concepción, Chile, 1997-98) found me last Sunday. And she just forwarded me an email this evening that our good friend Reinaldo Cortes, who we both knew in the mission field, died in a motorcycle accident yesterday. I’m sad and little weepy. I saw Reinaldo about 4 years ago during a brief visit to Santiago. We walked the beautiful San Cristóbal hill and talked a little about life. I could tell he wasn’t feeling so good about things. I ache that my life’s path took me away from him and so many others that I have loved. You can’t really be there for people when you are far away. You can’t really know what their daily experience is like or help them when they need you. You can only empathize from a distance. And you can’t really enjoy their gifts either. Reinaldo had an unstoppable sense of humor and a goofy, light-hearted approach to life in general. It was so fun to be around him. We played game after game of ping pong on our days off and he ALWAYS won. Elder Cortes was also special to me because he was the only elder that was in all three of my mission areas. We used to joke that he was “following” me…I will miss, you Reinaldo. You better behave – “Portáte bien, loco” – until I see you again. And if you didn’t know how much you were loved, I hope you do now.

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