Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Today's MOMENT OF ZEN 7/26/12

Words and photo: F LoBuono

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a good friend's father.  I didn't know Al very well. But I did know him well enough to realize that he was an exceptional man, and a generous one, too.  Before he retired to South Carolina, he owned and lived on one of the last horse farms in Rockland County and was kind enough to host my wedding reception there.  Al lived a full live with a successful career, a loving family, and an adventurous soul.  He was a veteran. He raised 4 children and still traveled the world.  He was also dedicated to his community and served it through various organizations.  He always made time for the important things in life.  I knew him as a true gentleman.  And at the end of his long life, Al was rewarded with the love and respect he so richly deserved.  The funeral home was crowded with family and friends, all professing their deep affection and genuine admiration for the man.  And he was mourned, too.  His son, and my friend, Will, eulogized him with a wonderful mixture of pathos and humor. Al would have been proud - and pleased, too!

As I rode away from the the burial on my Harley on what was a spectacularly beautiful mid-summer day, I reflected on my mortality and what legacy (if ANY) I would leave.  I certainly don't dwell on my own demise but, despite my enormous ego, I know that, someday, I will die.  As I cruised on,  my thoughts wandered: When that day comes, who will eulogize me?  What would be said about my life? Will anyone even come to the funeral?  And, I think that I may have some cause for concern! Someone like Al left so much.  He left children, grandchildren, and GREAT grandchildren.  He served his country.  He served his community.  I, on the other hand, have NO children.  I'm on speaking terms with only one of my three stepsons.  I haven't spoken (my choice) with my wife in weeks.  I am not a veteran.  I serve no community organizations.  I work. I write.  But I DO care about life and how it is lived. However, is caring to be good, good enough?

I will not be falsely modest (my ego is way too LARGE to allow it).  I have a wonderful family and fantastic friends.  And the do love me.  I know that.  But have I truly earned their love and respect?  Who, besides my mother (if she's still living, she's 88), will shed a REAL tear for me? Who will recite the kaddish at my grave? Who will leave a rose on my casket, or place a small rock on my headstone? And have I REALLY given them reason to? This is not self pity.  I think self realization would be more fair to say.  I am not old by any stretch of the imagination.  But, at 57, I ain't getting any younger, either! Life truly is the blink of an eye.

Perhaps, I should see this as a Dickensonian epiphany.  As Scrooge, is shown the error of his ways and is given a chance at redemption, a second chance, I should see this for the opportunity it most certainly is to rededicate myself to the creed: service over self.  I must remind myself to ALWAYS live with honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, love above all else.  Then, maybe, just maybe, at the end, I'll be worth a lingering thought. . .


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