It was odd and slightly unsettling to see an SD Police cruiser roll by so early in the morning as I unloaded my gear at the sleepy little camp that houses our paddle club on the interior of Mission Bay.
As I made my way past the Boy Scout section of the camp, I heard the sound of a bugle playing an unfamiliar tune but one I immediately identified as a morning ritual for the scouts. I stopped, put my hand on my heart and stood in silence as did other scouts and adults who were in the parking lot. I love rituals, they are grounding.
As I made my way into our boathouse, I was relieved to see all the bright eyed young champions of Team SDCT finishing their sunrise practice with banter, laughter and lots of innocent enthusiasm. Things were ok with my “family”.
As for the greater camp, odd turned into foreboding as the squad cars continued to roll in, one after another. From the water, as I got my workout on I could see the officers set a distant perimeter, but still no sirens, chases or evacuation, something unusual and terribly wrong had happened…
As I exited the camp on my way to work, I was stopped by sullen police officers who took my name, license # and recored it in a little black book, as they had done with the drivers in front of me.
On my way off the island I got the news on my mobile, a 12 year old boy, seemingly at his own hand, had taken his life just moments before I had arrived in the parking lot earlier. My heart broke into a thousand pieces.
I was swept away, Again, to the far away place of the land tears… The loss of that boy changed the world and the lives many people today.
As I drove on in a fog, I thought of the beautiful kids I had just had the pleasure of seeing at our boathouse. I thought of the precious sound of their laughter, I thought all of the wonderful, awkward, confident, uncertain comments they made as they interacted with each other, their coaches and their parents. I reflected on the jokes that were made at my expense and instantly felt like the richest man on the planet to have been on the receiving end of their affection.
You see friends, all we have in life is moments. Some beautiful, satisfying and rich, others exhausting, painful and daunting… Each moment your given, has monumental potential. Love, connection, intimacy and loyalty to name a few. Wether you are in the doldrums of your life, going through hell, like the hell a family and a community is going through on Fiesta Island tonight or, if you’re lucky to be ridding an upward wave in your life, remember that they are all opportunities, to live, love, forgive and embrace the people and the circumstances of your life. They will all pass, and… we each have a finite number of them.
I encourage you to pay attention to the people around you, you are in their life to help them, even if it’s them helping you that’s what they need. Take no conversation, embrace, question or moment for granted. The good bye you share with someone today might be the last one, make it count.
Friendship, Strength and Honor,