When you meet me, you meet my Dad. You also meet my best friend (she’s amazing!), my high school calculus teacher (he taught me patience), and my first boss (So generous and always brought us Krispy Kremes). Each time we meet someone, we share all the memories and stories of those who have shaped our lives. We don’t even have to say the words. They are a part of us, and the experiences that we had with them become part of our soul. We take them with us, and we can share their story as well.
I recently was talking to a friend who had never met my Dad, and we talked about how my Dad inspired others through his ability to beat the odds as a stage 4 cancer Survivor for 20 years. My friend said, oh, so your Dad was resilient? Yes, he was. And honestly, having someone else recognize and articulate the word that I was describing surprised me. How can someone who never met my Dad, and unfortunately never will, recognize the resiliency in my Dad? Because, I am here to tell his story. And because he passed down the bounce back ability to all who knew him, and even those who he just had passing interactions with. By connecting with others, I have the opportunity to share more about the loved ones in my life, and that’s a story I will keep on telling.
The other day, I was talking to my neighbor about my upcoming trip to Churchill downs. He didn’t know that I enjoyed horse racing, and he told me about how his Dad would take him to Belmont to watch the horses run and bet on the races. As a boy, my friend had seen amazing horses such as Secretariat, Ruffian, and Foolish Pleasure race. He said he was amazed by how many lengths Secretariat would win by. He also witnessed the match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure, and remembers the jockey jumping off Ruffian on that fateful day. Experiences that I hadn’t experienced, but as I talked with him, I realized that I also met his Dad in the time they shared together. Although he hadn’t thought about those days for a long time, they were right there ready to be shared.
Take a moment to honor and thank those who were and are still in your life. Even if you haven’t spoken or saw this person in years, they are still there. Maybe it’s the teacher who liked to say big words like Megalopolis (BC Green team, you know who I mean). Maybe it’s the childhood best friend who you have no idea where she is. Maybe it’s the TA from Chem 115 in college who wouldn’t let your class go home early when 911 hit. No matter who it is, know that all your good and not so good experiences with them are still with you, and they have had an impact. When you meet me, you meet my Dad. Who do I meet when I meet you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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