It has been just a little over a week since I was numbed by the unexpected news. One of my business acquaintances had passed away after a brief illness. The news came across my email, courtesy of one of his colleagues. Attached was a copy of the obituary and the email contained a brief advisory.
I leaned back in my office chair and closed my eyes for a moment. We had exchanged perhaps a dozen emails in the past month. We had spoken jokingly on the phone no more than a handful of times. A few weeks ago he had been visiting in our corporate conference room; full of life and enthusiastically discussing how our two companies could partner for success.
A strange sensation of deep sorrow overcame me. I had hardly gotten to know this person, and yet the news of his death was taking a sorrowful grip over my mind, body, and soul. Taking a deep breath, I opened my eyes and returned to the email. The obituary spoke of the many things he had done for the community and how close he was to his family and friends. Then I read a sentence that is still etched in my mind. He had passed away at the age of fifty-eight; a mere three years older than me! That was entirely too young to be meeting your maker!
I am in tune with the world around me and would like to believe that “any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved with mankind.” But considering that this person was no more than an acquaintance, the level of sadness overwhelming me did not make sense in the least. Was it because he had been so vibrant and full of life when he sat across the conference room table from me? Was it the fact that we were so close in age? Was it the knowledge that any one of us can pass on at any time?
Sitting on the couch, fingers flying across the keyboard; the reason for my mourning has become evident. I am not saddened by his mortality so much as I am saddened by my own. It will never cease to amaze me just how my writing always has a therapeutic effect on me. It appears that my words are my own best therapist. As long as I have quoted John Donne once in this essay, a second quote seems appropriate. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Right now the peal of that bell is deafening to both my ears and my spirit.
My now deceased acquaintance left behind an unintended gift for me. He managed to open my eyes, my mind, and my soul to the importance of our time on this earth. He reminded me that we are charged with an awe-filled responsibility; to live every moment of our lives to the fullest, to share of ourselves with others, and to live a life well-lived!
I have not written a blog for entirely too long. I purposely refused to go to my site before writing this post. To be honest, I was afraid that I would be demotivated to write tonight if I consciously knew how long it has last been since I blogged. It may seem ridiculous, but I almost feel guilt over my literary leave of absence. Come to think of it, I have not worked out in over a year too! Too many of the joys in my life have slipped through my fingers!
There are activities in my life that bring me sheer joy. Sitting in front of a blank screen, my fingers hovering over the keyboard, wrestling to craft words that will express my feelings; it is an exhilarating sense of creativity waiting to be unleashed! The thought of my simple words and thoughts touching another human being, inspiring them to greater things; it gives me a true sense of accomplishment and fulfillment at the very deepest levels.
Working out on my Bow Flex, feeling my muscles straining against unrelenting resistance; it is a feeling that I have been hooked on since my mid-teens. Bodybuilding has been my asylum over the years; a place for introspection, a source of self-actualization, an escape from the harsh realities of the world, and ultimately my safe place. I have managed to return to writing tonight; I sense it is time to return to my workouts tomorrow night.
I still feel a twinge of sorrow over the earthly departure of my business acquaintance. I feel badly for his family and colleagues; understanding their sense of loss. Yet I am quickly feeling joy as a result of this event. I will miss him, but he left me a precious gift. He shared a preview of mortality with me; which I have been able to share with all of you. For that, he will have my eternal gratitude.