It was on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday. Who remembers? Who cares?
I answered the phone. I heard the words. I felt the pain. I rocked back in my chair. And then, as if some 6-foot four goon punched me unexpectedly, a shooting pain in my stomach began to creep northward up into my throat. My vision began to blur and warm water began to exit from my eyes while my voice automatically turned to “off.”
Except for the passing of personal pets and an occasional TV movie scene accompanied by some effective musical sound track, I manage to hold my emotions in check. It seems that some people were born to cry. I was not.
But by all bodily signs and feelings, and couched in shear disbelief, I cried last week at the news of an unexpected passing of a friend … a human friend … a friend for over 40 years … and there was no music.
The fact that I am sharing this personal experience with “strangers” is worth examining in and of itself. (Go figure!) What do you care? Why should you care?
At the time of this writing, the scene involves a Denver Hotel Room. It is early morning. My body is still on east coast time. I have hours before I have to “perform.” [perform… is that what I do for a living?] A lot of people want to know what I do. Including my wife. I will now tell them “I perform.”
Apparently my friend was experiencing some major pain, and he had tried everything to “fix” the situation until he stumbled on a solution that would put an end to his discomfort. If only he had reached out to his friends. If only …
Who is to judge? But since the moment I heard the news, my mind has been tossing and turning trying to come with grips with things … many things. Is there a lesson here or do I just wait a few more hours and cross this event off as another line item in “yesterday’s news?” Here is what I have so far, and I choose to share this message with strangers.
Slow down. Pay attention. Be more interested when you finally begin to ask more questions. Do more than look people in the eye, (although this is a major stride for most of you) look deep into their inner being. What makes them tick? Where, if any, is their pain coming from? Don’t be so fast in crossing off events as business as usual. Examine your priorities and reorder them if necessary. (Let me save you some time. In most of your cases it will be necessary.)
Who cares what the root cause is. According to me people are becoming more fragile as the second hand swings through twelve. They have come to learn how to put on the “Happy Face” because they have been told nobody enjoys a frump. Yes. Much of their discomfort stems from their own bad decisions exercised along the way. Some comes from a spinning globe that plays no favorites with no concrete set of rules.
The bottom line is, as the rising Denver sun indicates that another day has begun, is that all we can do is all we can do. Let’s just hope and pray that all we can do is all we are doing to those who matter. I am going to miss my friend. Now, I must get ready to perform. (There it goes sgain.)