Highs and lows - thoughts on investing in people.

I found out last week that my Dad was diagnosed with a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor. It was discovered and removed surgically after a routine prostate examination. After biopsy, he is apparently going to be going back under the knife. I am nervous and it sits on my stomach right now like a heavy meal. As is the case with most children, I have always assumed him to be indestructible. And while I am concerned, something deep down tells me that he is going to be alright. Maybe that is just my way of coping. Maybe it is peace. Perhaps it is a little of both.

A good friend of mine also unexpectedly lost his finance and unborn child last week. I cannot imagine what his lost must feel like. In a serendipitous instance of divine grace, his mother happened to be traveling with him when he got the news and was able to be with him as he returned home and began the process of picking up the pieces. I can do little more than reach out and hope that he knows he has people who care for and love him.

In another instance of divine grace, one of my closest friends and mentors had weeks ago scheduled a visit up to stay with us over the past weekend. We had (I thought) booked a space, well in advance, at the mobile Story Corps booth which made a visit to Pensacola over the past month. When we showed up on Saturday morning at the appointed time, we were told that there had been a glitch with the online confirmation system and that we had not been booked. In the end, thanks largely to the excellent staffer with Story Corps (a New Yorker named Sara Culver), the issue was resolved. We sat down at about 11:30 to have a really good conversation that, along with tens of thousands of others, will be on record at the Library of Congress. It was a really memorable experience. Once I can figure out how to post the interview itself, I'll get it online.

It is easy in the darkness of some of the events that face us to become swamped. Like a boat. Waves crashing around us and putting more dark water in our vessel than we can bail out. I was grateful that in the midst of the dark news of last week, there was a ray of sunshine - the arrival of a good friend.

The collective events of last week serve as a reminder to me that the only meaningful investments we make on this earth are in people. Little will be remembered of our material possessions and yet we spend so much time accumulating property rights and "stuff." Our time is limited and not guaranteed.

I generally recognize these truths, but as it seems with all else - I forget. But reminders will always come, won't they?


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