My friend died this week. He was no older than me, but I’m afraid he was unable to overcome personal difficulties that damaged his health and finally ended his life.
I don’t wish to dwell on his troubles, though. Instead, I want to celebrate his great kindness and generosity. The warm, amiable spirit he extended to the world was a blessing to the lives of so many.
Though he and I gradually lost touch over the years, the fact that our paths crossed early after I moved to Hiroshima—two decades ago—has, in some important ways, led to the life I now live today. His friendly introductions, and his faith in my work, opened doors and presented opportunities that have rippled far beyond our time together. I wish I could thank him once more.
For me, the best of this man is not only his example as a genuinely goodhearted human being. In fact, his positive impact on others spotlights a huge truth worth holding firmly in mind:
Every intersection of our lives can ultimately have a far-reaching and lost-lasting influence on the lives of others, near and far, today and tomorrow, and for years to come. Our kindness matters, our generosity matters, and it ripples out into the world while we’re here, and even after we’re gone.
The most profound intersection of all
After I heard he died, I went to my friend’s Facebook page and found a wave of comments from people everywhere that testified to his loving spirit.
But none of these comments, as poignant as they were, hit me as hard as my friend’s own words. As I continued scrolling down the page, I found comments he had made while he was still alive. Three years ago—almost exactly three years before his death—he posted a beautiful black-and-white photo with his preteen son. My friend is bending down, smiling, his forehead resting atop his son’s head as the boy looks out, beaming at the camera.
And beneath this photo my friend had written:
“I will always love my son. Always.”
I lost it then, for my friend, for his son, for all the unending sadness of this spinning world.
But, at the same time, it also felt like a reminder, like my friend was touching my life one last time, telling me to remember—always remember—what’s truly important. Among the many intersections of our lives, he whispered, the intersection we share with our children is the most profound intersection of all.
Friends, hear his message:
Love your children. Love them well. Love them each day, each moment. And no matter your personal struggles, love them with all the kindness and generosity your heart can possibly give.
This post made me stop and think over the value of my family and all the precious things I have now but not being aware of while they are with me. Rest in peace to your old friend!
Sean, thank you for your comment. Yes, let’s appreciate, as fully as we can, the many precious people and important things in our lives.