They released two flocks of doves into the mountains yesterday. As we watched them fly off into a perfect blue sky, the reflection of the light off of their white wings flashed like angels amongst the clouds. It was a fitting tribute to a good man. You see, I’m in Denver this weekend to say goodbye to a colleague. He was too young to be taken, but pancreatic cancer often shows no mercy. He fought a brave fight, and in the end, all the years of training for triathlons and marathons gave him the strength to fight longer than most, but it was his faith that gave him the courage to let go. Knowing that he’d been baptized as an adult and was at peace w/ God renewed our faith as well. His wife explained that he told her the happiest day of his life was when he was baptized, mere weeks before going to undergo the experimental treatment which was the last hope for saving his life. Sadly, the treatment failed. Yet, my friend was selfless till the end. He said his goodbyes to his loved ones and then he asked the doctors if there was anything he could do to help them fight this disease. Even in his final hours, he was thinking of others. His selflessness should humble us all and make us think more about the mark we are leaving on this world. Will you be selfless? Why wait? It shouldn’t take a drastic terminal illness to make you wake up. What can we do now?
Last weekend, Auburn Sis, Chexican, and I got together for the first time in 2 years. The topic of the tornadoes in Alabama was heavy on our minds. Chexican is a Dr. Of Physical Therapy and she’s already treating victims of the tornado in her PT facility outside Birmingham. We all agreed we should do more to help. I get one day off a year for volunteerism, and we agreed we should join the Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa efforts. I may not be able to do heavy labor yet (my back is a LOT better, but still not 100%), but I’m a great organizer and gardener. I could help restore some of the landscaping destroyed by the tornado, or maybe organize donations? We agreed to figure out a day that would work for us to volunteer and go. But there’s more we can do every day. When I arrived in Denver on Thursday, I drove straight to a fundraiser for the local Bama Club that all of the Denver SEC school clubs were participating in. Almost every school was represented. I met my two Auburn Tri Delta sisters and happily joined in the activities to raise money for tornado relief in Tuscaloosa. All the way out in Denver, CO they are still thinking of the folks down south. When people found out I was from Atlanta, I was peppered with questions. How bad was the tornado damage? Bad. Are the floods really as bad as they are showing on television? Worse. They struggled to comprehend the size of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa. I explained what I knew. In the end, we raised a good amount of money for T-Town, I met some pretty cool people, and I’m happy to report that after Alabama crowd at their own event, the 2nd largest group represented was Auburn. (They only had us by a few people. Yes, competitive till the end!)
So it’s been a weekend themed around loss, faith, selflessness, and friendship. I’m blessed to have known my friend and to have been able to ensure that we took care of him during his illness not only as his company, but his work family. One of the girls in our office has moved into his cube and is taking care of his plants. His picture rests on top of the cabinet. We won’t forget his calm smile, his unflappable sense of calm, or his patience mentoring others. I also met some very good people in Denver who represent the SEC w/ pride and have tried to do their part to help those in need. My faith in God and inherent belief in the goodness of others was renewed multiple times this weekend. I leave you on this note. According to some, the world was supposed to end yesterday. The Mayans have predicted it for next year (ironically, the day before NYC Bro’s 30th birthday). These types of predictions distract people from the message that we should be listening for. Live each day according to your credo and faith. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Live justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.
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