Maybe it’s just the way the last few months have gone or perhaps it’s just the Holidays that’ve got me again but I’ve gotta tell ya, lately I’ve become some kind of a major league cream puff.
Okay, so I’m not wiping away the tears like my Uncle Bill used to do whenever a pretty little figure skater hit the deck in the middle of her free exercise (could be because I’d rather eat Brussels’ sprouts without a blindfold while listening to Bolton than watch figure skating or ugh, ice dancing.) But this year I got a little emotional even just thinking about It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey, and Bedford Falls. And if I start generating tear drops thinkin’ about Mr. Potter or his real-life counterpart former-VP Cheney, that’s when I’ll definitely consider seeking out some serious professional help.
I guess what’s really hit me this time around is the mortality thing. I had Christmas dinner with my Aunt on her ninety-ninth December 25th and on the same day, wrote three sympathy letters for patients who I’m sure enriched all the lives they touched (I sure know they enriched mine.)
Yeah, this December 25 prompted more than the usual and customary reflection. And I wonder how many of us thought we’d live long enough to see the Clippers win their 16th straight to claim the best record in the NBA? In another time, W.C. Fields might have said, “All things considered, I’d rather be watchin’ the Clippers.”
So legend has it Fields actually wanted “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia” inscribed on his tombstone. My guess is W.C. woulda probably even opted for the 405 on a Friday night or Chickasha, Oklahoma circa the Dust Bowl…or sitting courtside for the 2008-09 Clippers (they won 19 games and lost 63.)
But when you start thinking of the infinite time and place possibilities, how cool is it just knowing the 405 even exists? Bet ya even W.C. sort of appreciated dogs and children more (maybe in that order) when he was busy considering the City of Brotherly Love as a preferred Plan “A” exit strategy.
And being here and now and working together with people I love providing care for folks we see as family has nothing to do with me and everything to do with me being down right freakin’ lucky.
Last summer, President Obama made a speech and said “…If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” A lot of my colleagues took major offense. I couldn’t for the life of me think of anyone else who was putting in seven days a week around here. One of my best/smartest/funniest DDS-type friends from back in St Louis went totally postal (bet he was paying the bills when he heard about the speech); I thought he was gonna get banned for life on Facebook, or adopted by Tea Partiers, or gulp, even worse.
Then I read the speech’s text and thought about it. We all take risks. We all have the opportunity to be in action, show some initiative. But we don’t succeed on our own. How can we be successful without being fulfilled? Ever try being fulfilled…alone? How do you build something that stands without a foundation and support?
So I’d rather be lucky than good. And maybe being lucky comes with the love and the DNA you get as a kid. But being lucky also comes from the folks you’re privileged to meet along the way. In some way the people you meet who provide fulfillment, friendship, and support were the ones generous enough to hand out some trust; they made an investment and took a chance.
The greatest risk I’ve ever taken hasn’t changed; it remains making a choice that could disappoint the people I love. The opportunity is serving friends and family effectively by doing the right thing and just being the kid my parents thoughtfully raised; after all, they took the greatest risk of all.
Don’t know about you but I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. And if appreciation brings a tear to my eye, so be it.
2013, you’re still a couple of days away. No problem. I’m ready for you.