Unpredictable, life altering (yes, they really can be) and unquestionably surprising.
I’ve written often lately about the death of a friend, I’ve written and spoken about my feelings – about my trip to his funeral and conveyed some of my experiences there, and since. Pale they have been in terms of describing with any adequacy the nature of the relationship, the profound experiences I’ve had or the lingering impact of his life upon mine. And then, the speech – the speech I was to give at a speech contest of all places, a speech I’d practiced at an earlier iteration before an audience. Then, several days cloistered away, writing, re-writing – gathering it all together for presentation. How could I possibly convey 25 years of experience into a seven minute talk? Exactly!
It can’t be done, but I’d done it. The night before the big event I read it through one more time – and then spotted a sticky note on my office wall. I’d put it there sometime in the last couple of years.
It said, CAUSE OF LIFE.
I’d had that thought one day, that we focus too much on ‘cause of death’ rather than examining ‘cause of life’. I thought I would write about one day, develop my thoughts on it more.
And now, I am. I have.
Needless to say that a ‘change of the speech’ was required.
I went, I talked, it ended. It needed voice …
Back to my epiphany …
It’s still blossoming I think. There is a book in this, I think. There are speeches in this, I think. Not about Barry, not about my relationship with him – but some outcomes of that funeral, the several focused days writing and thinking about how to tell that story. More focused than I’ve been on anything lately. Not for a very long time has something occupied this much of my time and energy. Come to think about it, there was a time a few years ago – on several projects. He was involved in every one of them. Other people too, but this is no coincidence. It is something of Barry now working its way through my psyche.
A final thought, for now: so often we hear of someone dying. We say kind words, think about them and their families – but the first questions which come to mind and often to our lips are: how old were they and what did they die of? Our thoughts are about their cause of death. We won’t change, but what I’ve been using considerable brain cells to explore – what is our cause of life? What was his cause of life?
We see people all around us living bad lives – and we ask why, in search of some lesson.
But what about all those who are living good lives, worthy lives, lives we admire – we need to be asking ourselves, and asking them, what is the cause of that? What makes them tick ‘that way’? The learning within these questions will enlighten us, guide us and make us better!