About six years ago I had a new student come into my classes who later proved to become a sweet friend who never asked for recognition for his mysterious, and always anonymous generosity.
If you knew him, you may have not been able to recognize that he was a person living with a traumatic brain injury or that he struggled with all types of pain. His outlook and hash tag on life was #lovemylife. He never complained and was always up for a positive spin on things.
Through the years, I shared yoga and mindfulness with him. I schooled him on the proper way to eat cold chicken (only with mustard). I proudly sent him pictures of my garden bounty and the hikes I took. He returned this with countless bags of chocolates delivered to my door, things for my shoes so I don’t slip on ice, he would send his own pictures of amazing hikes, and we often compared notes on Saturday steak nights.
Our friendship was based on the simple kindness between two people, despite very different lifestyles, and was always through texting. We disagreed politically and on issues we are both passionate about, but rather than attempt to convince each other that our view was the right view, we chose instead to focus on kindness. We chose to share things with each other that embodied what it meant to live your best life. He cracked lame jokes and always asked me about my health. I made sure he knew I was around and that he was on my mind from time to time.
Simple kindness was the theme of our friendship.
A few weeks ago, I went to see him in person in the hospital as he battled for his life. I rubbed his feet and brought him lemonade. Words were minimal and not needed.
His illness, injuries and life of pain came to an end recently. I know that what he was facing was not living his best life and he knew it. I know that his need to escape society and head to the woods for months at a time was not something he would be able to do. I knew his fear and his pain.
I knew I needed a hike in the trees to have a little chat with him and wish him well on his soul path. As I finished saying my goodbyes, I snapped this photo of the hill I was climbing and the light beam was such an obvious sign.
Nicely done, Scott. I will treasure your spirit and the gift your life was on my path. Enjoy the trees, the hawks and the views.