April Fool's Day
I’ve always loved April Fool’s day. It’s fun to tell a tall tale with a straight face, to see if you can sucker someone into believing something and then proclaiming ‘April Fool’. Not this year. One of my closest friends passed away this week – far too soon – and now that the implausible has become real, I have no heart for the tall tale. I’m now far more interested in what’s real, what’s alive and what’s important.
Looking around at the daffodils pushing their way towards the sun (in spite of the last snow that will surely come). Hearing the birds sing in the trees (knowing full well that a howling wind will yet try to silence them for a short time longer). Seeing kids running without jackets (while their mother’s keep an eye on the darkening sky). Knowing that life is precious (and that it inevitably ends). The awareness of these and so many other of life’s dichotomies makes a joke seem inappropriate.
A life cut short is nothing to joke about – but one lived to its fullest should be celebrated. A friend’s love is no joke – especially if it’s unconditional and uncontrollable. The loss of anyone who is near and dear is no joke – but the memories can last a lifetime. Telling someone how much he or she mean to you is no joke – and telling them often is a blessing. Having a friend through thick and thin is no joke – not having someone to share the highs and lows with is sad. Life is short – and that’s no lie; making the most of each and every day means you never have to look back and think you could or should have….
I guess it takes one of these events to start thinking about what’s really important; it shouldn’t but we get caught up in things and then get confused. We need to learn – over and over – that a life lived well, promises kept, friendships honored, commitments fulfilled, goals achieved and feelings clearly expressed should be the rules and not the exceptions. Because they’re real and can enrich our lives. Because they help us feel alive and can enhance our experiences. Because they’re important and add real meaning to our lives.
My buddy and I talked long and often about life, death, commitment, honor and ethics – and never more so than in the past three months. We looked at this impending departure not only as a sad ending but also as an opportunity to continue to share. We knew it was coming so we faced it openly and together. It wasn’t easy but it was honest. It wasn’t altogether fun but we found a way to laugh together. It wasn’t what we wanted but (and in this I can only speak for myself at this time) I have no regrets about things I should have done or said. I wish we had more time but I don’t feel like we wasted the time we had. I wish that I could end this by yelling April Fool – but I can’t. And that’s no joke.
My message this week is about doing things with others:
“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (1926 – 2004) was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying.
How effective do you expect to be today? And how much do you think you’ll get done alone as opposed to teaming up with others today? These two questions go straight to the heart of being successful and achieving your goals – because if you really want to get things done right then it’s always better to leverage all your available resources. The trick is you have to know when you need help and you have to realize and accept that two heads are always better than one and you need to know how to work well with others to get things done in a way that makes everyone feel good about themselves and the things that are accomplished. There’s so much great energy and synergy to be found in “teaming” and rarely a reason to avoid this joining of resources when they’re available. So if you’ve got some ego about this: lose it. Get in touch with yourself and realize that this teamwork thing definitely has a purpose. Do that today and see how it helps you and everyone around you to be more effective in achieving your goals.
And especially, hug a friend today.