Life always has a way of checking on you, and this week it did so with me, again. I received a phone call from a friend of mine who informed me that yet another mutual and very close friend was sick and diagnosed with terminal cancer. Considering I have two other friends in the same situation, this was a big blow to me. And since then, as busy as I have been, these great men have been on my mind.
One of the nights following the news, I sat outside of my home. I looked around and thought of how fortunate I was in my life. I was doing what I wanted to do professionally, I have a great team of people around me, a beautiful home, wonderful people I love in my life – including my daughter and grand-daughter, and pretty much anything I want and need. And yet, I had friends whom I care very deeply about and their respective situations were not good and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was reminded about how life does not consider whether you are rich or poor, young or old, a man or a woman, etc. As much as we like to be in control, life just happens to us sometimes. And, I realized that as busy as we all become with the business of living, it can’t be all about our own lives.
As I sat there thinking about life and its meaning, I thought about one of my friends who is struggling with the disease. I had promised him and his wife a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream party at their home, and yet, I had not seen him in two months and had not planned that gathering. I was hit with the fact that I was busy, and yet, he was potentially dying. What was more important than that party?
I felt awful. I picked up the phone and scheduled that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream party in order to take care of him and his wife, who is his main caregiver. My associate and I did it within a day or two of the call and it was wonderful to share something so simple and joyous with them.
There is an old saying, “There but for the grace of God go I”. No matter what your beliefs may be, everything can be going great, but life can throw you an incredible curveball. I am fortunate – exceedingly fortunate – to not be suffering through what my dear friends are facing. I am also incredibly grateful and humbled by that fact.
So, what does this mean? It means that I want to be a better person. It means I want to strive to learn the lessons I have learned from these great men around me and be more gracious, kind, considerate, patient and giving. It means that I want to be the sort of person my daughter and grand-daughter will always be proud of in life. It means I have to do more to give of my time to others and make it a point to not be swept away all of the time with the living of my own life. Life doesn’t mean much if it is not truly and genuinely shared with others.
There is so much conversation in our world these days about “being present” and living in the moment. I don’t know about you, but as much as I try, I do struggle to be truly present. Yet, it is something I aspire to do everyday. That said, there is nothing that can get you into a more present place than when life itself throws you the curve.
It is at that time that you realize how it’s not all about the “sound and fury” of the day-to-day. When everything is put to the side and into perspective, it is about those around you. There really is not much else. You are not taking the television set with you, the house, the car or any money in your savings. The only thing that we truly have is the experience that we are living with the people in our lives, particularly those who are closest to us. And those experiences and moments truly do reverberate through space and time into infinity. What has happened has happened and it can never be undone. It has existed and like a wave, it pulses through time itself. People Matter, relationships matter.
What do I want to do with the time I have left on this earth? I want to make it matter more. What do you want to do?