I Lost a Friend is a guest post by David Stanley. David is a fellow dad blogger whose work I greatly enjoy for its wisdom and distinct voice. He blogs at DadsRoundtable and on his personal blog Rants & Mutters.
He blogs on the oddities and banalities of life, lifecycle events, Judaism, sports (usually bicycle racing and soccer and golf; unless something grabs my attention), kids and education and cancer. Usually. Unless something grabs my attention.
As someone who finds nearly everything interesting, it’s no surprise, David is involved in a wide variety of things. He is a musician, teacher & science geek. He’s a serious bike racer. He’s also a cancer survivor. He’s also a voice-over actor at My Voice-over Masters.com and a freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter, @dstan58
A friend of mine died Wednesday evening. He was diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma nearly one year ago. He leaves behind two adult children from his first marriage; a son and daughter, and twin adult stepdaughters from his second marriage to one of my wife’s closest friends.
Sad, indeed, yet, most of us have a similar story somewhere in our lives. This is not a story of grief. It is the story of friendship. Until my friend’s last few months of life, we were not friends.
“You didn’t get me any presents yet?”
“Black Friday passed.”
“I know, but…”
“Channukah’s like 10 days away.”
“I got all of your presents. I have all the children’s presents. And you haven’t gotten me one present yet?”
Yes, Ms. MMK was pissed. A little scary too, I must admit.
But, I get it. She likes getting presents. And so do I. In fact, we exchange presents on our anniversary and mother’s/father’s day and birthdays. I know, I know, many married couples don’t bother. What’s the point they whine. It all comes from the same pocket of money. “I can get myself a present,” they reason.
Sure, there is a certain degree of truth to this. After all, we adults have access to money (hopefully) and can buy for ourselves.
But I beg to differ. I think receiving and giving presents is important and valuable.
Oh and don’t start telling me you don’t like getting presents. Everyone does – at least on some level. So, why do you like receiving presents?
There’s a creep trying to get in. I’ve shut the doors. I’ve locked the windows. But still the creep is trying.
“You used to think you could do anything?”
“Huh. What do you mean?”
My aunt went on, “When you were little you used to think you could do anything your older brothers could do.”
My aunt must have had a reason for telling me this. Yet, I don’t recall. All I remember is we were on Brookmont Road which is just a couple of blocks from my childhood home. She was driving us somewhere.
But I believed I could do anything she says. Little me running after my older brothers. I wouldn’t be left behind. My mother tells a similar story.
“You wanted homework.”
“You said your older brothers got homework and so you wanted homework.”
“How old was I?”
I believed I could do anything.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.– spoken by Atticus Finch, written by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Simple, isn’t it. Don’t judge. You don’t know a person because you don’t have his/her perspective. By the way, Scout was just seven years old when Atticus gave her this advice. So if a seven year old can understand these words, why can’t we as a society?
We All Judge
We all judge. All the time. Don’t shake your head no. You do it and so do you and so do you. We all do it.
Judgment was a theme I touched upon when I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to my high school students. Here is how I proved that we all judge all the time.
It’s the first day of school. As you walk into each classroom for the first time, what’s the first thing you do? You look at the teacher. You look at your fellow classmates. You figure out where to sit. The whole time you are judging. And this is true any time you go somewhere the first time or a place that is out of your routine – public transportation, a store, etc.
Some students would disagree with me and maybe you do too. However, I stand by my statement. We are assessing the situation and location. Is it safe? Am I going to be comfortable here? Are there potential problems here? And what is the way to get the answer to these questions? We study the people around us, and we judge them.