Archive for May, 2010

At This Moment

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Last night I stumbled upon one of those films which tells the familiar story of a long-in-the-tooth philanderer who finally discovers the value of true love. In typical film fashion, he sees the error of his ways just in time to finally get the right girl, along with a real family and a slice of personal redemption.

I’m anything but a philanderer, but some of my friends apparently think of me as “relationship-challenged”. And though I’m sure it speaks to their inevitable appreciation of my fiance rather than their complete lack of faith in me, I’m amazed at the number of folks who, after meeting her have taken me aside and threatened – in varying degrees of colorful language – “Jack… don’t louse this one up.”

I’m trying not to, guys… I promise.

On another front, as of this writing I’m on schedule for some out-patient surgery this week. It’s a rite of passage which comes with age and, considering how many more serious scenarios could’ve been involved, I’m more grateful than concerned.

But still, truth to be told, I’m a little nervous. Surgery is surgery, and once in a while things don’t go exactly as designed. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but no matter what, I’ll be right on schedule for God’s plan for me.

However, the prospect of all this has gotten me thinking about Randy Pausch.

In case you haven’t heard, he’s the heroic Carnegie Mellon professor who, near the end of his courageous bout with pancreatic cancer, offered a brilliant, heartfelt public inventory of his life, values and hopes for the world, in a speech called “The Last Lecture”. At latest count, over six million people have seen video of the speech or read the resulting book.

I wonder what each of us would say to the world if we knew our lives were in their final acts? I wonder what I’d say if I knew this were my last column?

And the thought occurs to me that even if we’re not at a certain end-of-life circumstance, might it not be valuable to compose a similar fearless, soul-searching documentation every few years anyway? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a chronicle of our evolving priorities and values?

So let’s see… what would I really want to say in such an inventory right now?

At this moment I’d thank the ones I love for being in my life. I’d tell them over and over again how grateful I am for them, and for the pride I feel in who they are. I’d tell them that their presence are the measure by which I know that God loves me.

At this moment I’d thank my friends for their devotion, their laughter and their unconditional caring. I’d thank them for seeing me through my toughest hours and making the good times so utterly sublime.

At this moment I’d thank my temple for allowing me to ply my craft in praise of God, and filling me to the brim with gratitude, support and friendship. I’d tell them that my participation in this shuel gives my life meaning beyond my wildest dreams.

At this moment I’d tell my colleagues that their artistic and spiritual collaborations are oxygen for my mind and soul, and through them I allow myself to be the artist I’ve always dreamed of being.

And at this moment I would express hope and optimism for the future of this world. I would emphatically state my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

I would reveal that every day I’m humbled by mankind’s undying quest for spirituality, love and companionship. I’d express my unwavering conviction that, despite seemingly unjustified challenges which befall us, God knows exactly what He (or She) is doing.

And I’d wonder how my thoughts today will compare to the next time I do this exercise.

And how about you? What would you want to say to the world at this moment?

Re-reading my list, I hope my intentions don’t change much. I guess a guy who’s formerly “relationship-challenged” can find some clarity too, even it he’s not in the movies.