What do you want people to remember about you when you're gone? What good piece of your value will they take with them and make a permanent part of their living day?
On Friday afternoon I attended the Celebration of Life for Spencer Dial, the twenty-year-old son of one my childhood friends. Spencer made quite a mark during his short time here. He seemed to have had more fun in his two decades than I've had in my five. The large room was packed to standing room only. Dozens of people paid loving and mostly humourous tributes to their fallen friend, brother and son. By all accounts he was the brightest part of any room he entered. The very many people he met along the way seem to have left his presence feeling much improved having known him.
I met his father David Dial in grade four. I was one of only two kids that year who had been cut from baseball tryouts and he walked me home. It's the first time I had been ejected from a group I desperately want to be a part of and one of the shitty scars I carry to this day. But David was there for me, a class act even back then. Evidently Spencer learned a lot of what he learned about friendship from his Dad.
I barely imagine the sorrow and strife that Dave and his family are dealing with. Spencer's passing has left a large gap that each will have to fill in time. In his eulogy to his son, David spoke of this gap and the challenge of filling it with something good and invited us all to take something of his son with us. I didn't know Spencer Dial well. That's an opportunity I missed while he was alive. But I did leave his funeral service inspired to have way more fun, live my remaining days with more joy and work on being a better friend. That's a great legacy for any of us.
I think the purpose of life is to make it better for the people we love and the people we serve. This is not always easy. It's a mission that requires commitment, courage and a willingness to step out of comfort and into the lives of the people who need what we have to give. Life is, as the cliché goes, short. Often it's tragically short. "If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much space. It's not the human walk, it's the human race." If you have something important to do, get on with it now. You have this day. The people who are gone no longer have that choice.