Sunday, October 18, 2015

Unfinished Business - Directions of Life and Travel Intertwined

In all the journeys a man might make, the most profound might actually be the one he didn't start. Every president gets asked about his legacy, and it usually pertains to what he did in the up to eight years he spent in the White House and how those decisions and actions portend some major consequence on the the future of the country or the world. Some people yield a tremendous influence, and that is more easily ascertained (or magnified) by the position they held or the fame they enjoyed for a time. However, the effects of the lives of others is often more subtle and uncelebrated, and what they achieve resonates in reincarnation. If for some reason what we do in life echoes for eternity, but no one writes books about us, it could very well be because someone else carried our torch.

I recently read something by a grieving widower of a friend of mine. I could tell the wound was still fresh, and he seemed a bit lost. When you lose someone close to you, there are the sincere, yet predictable, attempts to provide you with some sort of solace: "If there is anything I can do...", "she's in a better place now", "you are in my prayers"... etc. No one can fault people for the unoriginality of these statements; nobody knows the right thing to say, and odds are there is nothing you can say to help the bereaved feel some comfort during the aftermath of their loss. You're just trying to be a good friend, and really, that may be the best you can do. However, what struck me on this occasion was something that has become evident in the last year or so, in that those who pass on before us live on in what we do in their honor - because we are finishing what they started.

Life masks these kinds of truths in our youth, mostly because we are thinking primarily about ourselves. However, somewhere along the line we gain something called "perspective", which is a byproduct of wisdom. The clarity of a situation often does not present itself until the end; any moment of truth is the result of culmination, not prediction or snap judgment. Sadly, someone's value is not always appreciated until they are gone; then we are left with the context of a world without them. It is the void, the loss, or the failure that informs and instructs us on how to carry on - that is, if we choose to learn.

Every endeavor needs clarity; without is mere frivolity. Therefore, it is imperative that we recognize when we are called upon to contribute to a legacy - to help someone else live forever. It is then that we realize that we are not victimized by others leaving us, but blessed that they were ever there in the first place. If they were that special, then they bestowed something very profound, which is the gift of a challenge to finish the job they left. Like I told my friend's husband whom she left here on Earth, what's left to do after losing someone so magnificent, so young, is, "now, you have to be awesome for her." And, we go back and make whatever that is happen.

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