As I tap these words into my telephone, a friend of mine is in very serious condition, and there is a very real chance I may have heard his laugh for the very last time.
I’m not particularly thrilled about this. Although he’s a man of relatively recent association, as such things are counted, he is and will always be an indelible part of my life.
We once worked together in a very large, very friendly company. While at the time I was myself quite large, I was not always friendly. This is a failing I recognize in myself, and over the last few years I have attempted to rectify it by surrounding myself with unashamedly positive people.
The kind who would have accepted old me for the good hidden away inside all the anger, and would defend him/me when pressed as to why.
The kind of person I imagine myself to be now, although there are some folks that no matter how hard I try, I can only appreciate intellectually.
The kind of man who lies tonight in a hospital bed, surrounded by love, love, love.
It is an indicator not only how far I have come, but how far I have yet to travel down this particular road that I will be spending tonight with strangers. Because for my friend, there are none, merely boon companions not yet met.
Should the likely happen, despite the briefness of our friendship I will be diminished by his absence. The sun will shine less brightly for a time, and I’ll look for him in the faces of strangers for many days to come. I’ll hope that it’s all just a bad miscommunication, and that when I call he’ll pick up and laugh with me.
But to find him, I’ll only need to look in the mirror. He’s who I should be, when I ask myself how to approach my life. He’s the empty space around me, into which I never seem to fit.
Truth be told, the outpouring of kind wishes, noble deeds and love my friend, my Brother’s, tribe has generated in the last 24 hours is humbling in the extreme. Were the same to happen to me, I doubt such a response would be forthcoming. I haven’t earned it, and a decent case could be made that I’ve pushed away those who might have once done so, across bridges I never should have burned.
This is not a pity post. It’s a call to action. You have a friend like this in your life. Everyone does, whether you realize it or not. They’re not looking for acknowledgements. They don’t want to feel special. They want you to be happy, and are willing to let you be otherwise when you want to.
Earn it. Make their lives mean something, even if all you can do is smile at a stranger.
Make a difference in someone’s life, and commit to building bridges. The world will be better for it, and the sun will keep shining for just a little while longer.
Be well, my friends.