A Friend of Mine
All of these people. Every day. They leave their families, their homes, their friends. Some of them leave knowingly and some leave without a knowing at all. Whether you think it is a blessing, or a curse, the very nature of what we are doing in this life leads to one end. We are, without a doubt, going to pass through this physical dimension, into another. If we, as humans, have a collective destiny, it is this, that we are on our way to dying, every minute, of every day. Some of us handle it well, some of us freak out a little.
While this is true, there are also some other things that are born of truth in our existence. We are part of a perfection that we most times lose sight of because we perceive perfection is something to be attained. We ignore the fact that we have little time on this earth because we might feel there is nothing worthwhile to accomplish. We also ignore the fact that the Creator knows there is a reason for our being here, and that right now, we are good enough. We fail to see the miracles that happen every day. Simply put, we would rather feel bad about the cold that might be “coming on”, than celebrate all the times we were healed in the past when we recovered from colds.
And as odd as it sounds, most of us would rather bemoan every story of human failure that is presented on the evening news, than shut off the television set, stare at a small, potted, flowering, plant in the corner of the room, full of life, full of colored hues and beauty, and simply be amazed by the fact that there is life in this world. We confuse prayer with worry. We confuse empathy with gossip. We confuse education with self righteousness. We confuse stewardship with our deserving good things. May I offer an exercise to combat this confusion? One that has nothing to do with any of those oversights?
Search the internet. Search the local newspaper. There you will find what I was admittedly frightened by as I was raised. The Obituaries. There was never good news reported in the obituaries when my mother poured over them each day. Either, someone she knew had died, or worse to me, people she did not know had died. Then there is the text, where a person’s life is summed up in whatever passage, limited by whatever word limit a family might have been able to afford, and crammed next to information about other people that happened to leave this world around the same time who’s family might have afforded more, or less, words. Always, even as a young child, my question was, “Did this man, woman, boy, or girl, know this many people would be affected by their death?”.
Here is the second part of the exercise, and something I started doing a few years back.
A Friend of Mine. Pick any friend, write something of the good things you know of them, send it in a letter, post it on Facebook (or any other more hip social media platform), and make your friends aware of how you feel, before you, or they, pass from this earth. Personally, I always end this short dissertation, with the words, “a friend of mine” . It is a simple consideration that takes little time, affords you the opportunity be grateful for the important things in life, and it lets people pause and understand the impact they have made on your life, most times, without even knowing they have done so. This is not some, “Tell them before it is too late” admonishment. This is a simple way, to create joy close to home. A way, as it were, to give praise and thanks, all at once.
“She was left in my care as an infant, for short periods of time, while her brother was collected from elementary school. We listened to Norah Jones together, before she knew anything other than music seemed to sooth her spirit. She never lets me forget that she is my “first” niece. She never lets me forget that I accidentally burned her with a cigarette when I did not know she was behind me. She is one of the most practical people, yet at the same time, one of the most care free spirits, I have known. Yesterday, she came home from her first day of kindergarten and tomorrow she will drive back from Florida, where she went, simply because she could. She has never seen me and not smiled. She has never left a room without giving me a hug. Her name is Haley Piper. And she is a friend of mine.”