If you know me at all you know that the last year or so of my life has been mostly about making, editing and re-editing a documentary about my dear friend and teacher, Ken Rideout.
If you know that much then you also know I call Ken by the title of Ajahn. This is a word spoken in Thai to denote a respected teacher.
Today I would like to give #thisiscrazylove2016 to Sandra Rideout, the woman I’ve always known as Ken’s wife.
Over the past year, while reflecting on all my time with Ken and all I learned from him, I have also realized how important Sandra has been for me over the years.
Sandra was the practicality behind Ken’s teachings for me. I replay conversations with Ken in my mind and notice in my memories that it was often Sandra who would interject sane bits of wisdom for me to carry along my path.
I remember to this day walking into the hospital back when Ken had his heart attack… the one that ended up telling Ken, “Well, it’s been a good run but this is about the end of what we can do with this here body.”
I know I left that last sentence just hanging there. I don’t really care right now. I am just trying to get these words out.
I sat in that room with Ken and he told me he was going to move back to Thailand. A few minutes later Sandra came into the room and our conversation wound down.
I started to leave and Sandra offered to walk me to the elevator. At the opening of the doors she said, “I guess Ken told you what he wants to do.”
“He did,” I said. “But he’s not actually going to do it… Right?”
Sandra looked at me, “You don’t know Ken.”
I thought I did know Ken. Clearly not as well as I thought I knew him.
Over the next many months Sandra ran around in a mad dash, getting all the paperwork, family affairs and details taken care of while I kidnapped Ken to interview him for the documentary.
Ken had a first wife, Ruth, whom he lost to a battle with cancer. I have heard stories about her greatness. Ken would often tell me, “I wish you could have met Ruth. You’d have loved her.”
The fact is, I never met Ruth. I mean her memory no disrespect. I have worked very hard to give her a presence in the documentary. I know what she meant to so many people over the years.
I can only speak of what I know. I know that Ken would not have been what he was to me or to so many others in the years he worked in Chiang Rai and after he returned to the States.
Ken wouldn’t have been able to compile his book without Sandra. Ken would have set me astray several times without Sandra.
All that said, there is another place where I see Sandra’s imprint on this world. Her daughter and sons. l am humbled to call them friends.
That is not an exaggeration. I see the lives they have lived to this point and all I see is greatness. They have given themselves to ministry, students and our country. They have each married people whom I would trust the most broken of friends to spend time with in search of healing.
There are so many things about Sandra I want to write in this post. However, with the swirl of today and tomorrow looming I can’t determine what of our shared stories are private and what can be written about.
I guess that is a testament of how special Sandra is to me. I have shared some of the most personal things in my life with her and I know she is a vault that wouldn’t be opened by anyone else on the matter.
She is, as lovely and talented and wise, most wonderfully trustworthy.