Two unrelated events this weekend connected together to get me thinking about how we live our lives.
On Saturday, my wife and I went to a celebration of life for a man named Dennis who died a couple of weeks ago after a brave battle with cancer.
The celebration was held at the Lake Union Café in Seattle. The place had the feel of a speakeasy or a private nightclub with pressed copper ceilings, a long bar, and a stage at the front of the house with tables arrayed around a hardwood dance floor.
Dennis was a couple of years younger than me. We had both worked at Microsoft in the same general area. I think we must have crossed paths once or twice but we never actually worked together. We really met socially at the home of our mutual friend Alex who hosts scotch tasting events a few times a year. Dennis was a regular.
It turned out to be a beautiful, joy-filled gathering. A number of people from various parts of Dennis’s life, including our friend Alex and Dennis’s son, got up on stage and spoke movingly about how they knew Dennis, how much he meant to them, how he had touched their lives. We learned about a remarkable man we were just starting to know. He was one of those rare individuals who inspired deep love and connection from everyone he met.
I’m glad we were there to support, even in a small way, his close friends and family. And glad to reconnect with friends and colleagues we hadn’t seen in months or years.
While in hospital, Dennis apparently told visitors that if he had more time he wanted to do more, to connect more, to be more. At the celebration, there were #BeMore stickers on all the tables.
I like this idea. It encourages us to be bolder, to resist the gravitational pull of the status quo, to push beyond our often self-imposed boundaries.
On a much more mundane note, this weekend I finished taking apart our kids’ old play set that had been in the backyard practically since we moved into this house. It was a wooden structure with swings, a slide, a sandbox and an elevated platform they could climb up onto. It was fully equipped with a steering wheel and a spyglass. It gave our kids years of fun and enjoyment. I’m grateful we were able to provide it for them when they were younger.
But the kids are grown now, and the play set hasn’t been used in years. Neglected, it’s been slowly rotting and rusting away.
I was able to salvage a few 4×4’s and some bits & pieces, but we loaded the rest of it into our SUV and hauled it off to the dump Sunday morning. An unceremonious ending for something that’s been a fixture in our backyard for so long.
I suppose it’s all just part of our kids growing up and us getting older.
Anyway, these two very different events on consecutive days this weekend have me reflecting on the finite and fleeting nature of our lives. I’m not sad. There are things to be grateful for and people to celebrate. But they’re a reminder that we should use our time well.
We should #BeMore.