Is there anything good that comes from losing someone?

Pat

A friend of mine died recently and it got me thinking about life. Our most precious commodity, how much I waste of it, while pursuing other less satisfying commodities, chasing the next thing, the next girl, the next pair of shoes, the next paycheck, stymied by things that I’ve made into problems in my mind.

But my friend simply lived. Wherever he was, he was present. He listened, he offered help graciously and without expectations or pride. He did not judge, he remained calm in the face of life and soaked it all up, knowing both the good and the bad was part of the experience. And he planted a seed in me to do the same, to pay attention. To be mindful of life. But that seed wasn’t in the right conditions. I didn’t listen, though I heard his silent lesson and saw his example of a life well-lived.

I wasn’t ready, but years later I awoke, and the seed sprouted, and the fruit appeared. But he has disappeared, forever. And I can’t say thank you. I can’t tell him how his little part of my life grew into so much later, and made me a better person. All I can do is spread the uncalculated love he showed me and everyone else in his life.

You will be missed, Patrick. You helped make me who I am today. And if I don’t appreciate my life, if I don’t live it fully, helping, sharing, contributing, then I am not remembering you, and I am not honoring you. But I won’t forget, and I think that is the best way to honor someone. It’s applying their good in your life and forgetting your petty anxieties and appearances and instead, finding your love and then giving it away.

I rebound my efforts to live as you did.

And I don’t know if you can get this message, wherever you are, if you even still exist… but thank you. Thank you from my heart, truly.

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Why didn’t they move to help her?

groupthink

There was coughing in the quiet of the library. I continued typing away at my laptop. After a few moments, I came out of my focus and noticed an old woman sputtering, trying to catch her breath. She was seated at a computer, and she continued her string of coughs and I started wondering how long she’d been at it. Was she choking?

I got up from my chair and made a move towards her, as did a woman who sat near me and another man who sat closer to the choking woman. We hesitated a couple of long seconds, not touching her, and luckily she regained her breath. She shook her head and muttered, “down the wrong pipe..” She coughed again and patted her chest. “I’m sorry.”

No one said anything. In silence, I retook my seat as did the other two who had stood up. I looked around. There were maybe ten others in the room who had watched the woman choking. They hadn’t moved.

I think one of our greatest qualities is we follow obediently. We fall in line and work together, without arguing over pride or ego…too much. We don’t all try to give orders. This allows us to get stuff done, as a team, as a nation, as a human society.

On the flip side, we wait on others. We wait on someone else to take the lead sometimes. We wait for someone else to do what we know is right, instead of doing it ourselves.

And this makes our tendency to follow also one of our greatest weaknesses.