Seems to me there are places where you grow up; places where you move to during your lifetime; and places where you finish up. There are endless variations of these patterns.
I grew up in a medium size city with a small-town feel. However, I spent most of my pre-school years, and much of my school holidays, soaking up the culture in a small fishing village (with no population sign) where my mom’s vast network of relatives seemed endless. I loved it! And, being by the water, I learned to fish, swim, hunt and handle boats. But, most importantly, I learned about a person’s responsibility from the family’s raconteurs. Of course, over time, death got in the way – taking from me those wonderful, irreplaceable, caring people – who so endeared themselves to me with their stories about life.
Like my friend, Gary, from Bright: not a finer person anywhere – whose sudden passing shocked everyone. He was committed to serving others – with kindness and integrity. He certainly was too good to lose.
When at the funeral home, I reached out to say goodbye, I noticed the watch he was wearing was right on time. I don’t know what that means in a timeless world, but he was more interested in who you were… in the here and now.
So, I’ve found it doesn’t matter where you start out; or, where you end up – it’s what you do when you get there that counts. And, you’re most effective when you act with empathy and loving understanding.
Rainy day lovers don’t lie when they tell you, They’ve been down like you,
Rainy day people don’t mind, if you’re cryin’ a tear or two.
– Rainy Day People by Gordon Lightfoot
Plus, there are many folks who volunteer in every community. They selflessly give of their time to help others in need. I remember conducting an interview for Rogers TV Kitchener about the Meals on Wheels program. It was explained that when you see how courageous their clients are – with various disabilities – it makes your problems seem small by comparison.
Then, there are little acts of kindness happening everyday. Working with my wife, I remember how exhausted we were after a major move – neither of us stopping to get much to eat as we oversaw the movers set things up and moved them here and there for us. At the end of the day, the two of us were about to collapse when friends showed up with gourmet sandwiches and a bottle of wine to toast the new place.
Take it or leave it or try to believe it,
If you’ve been down too long,
Rainy day lovers don’t hide love inside, they just pass it on
So, how do you measure great people? – by their deeds.
I’m also reminded that you’re never sorry tomorrow for doing what’s right today. Martin Luther King Jr. may have said it best:
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
Fred G Parry