What we Leave Behind


Giving

It suddenly came back to me. I hadn't thought about him recently, but there he was.

Memories are triggered sometimes by subtle changes in your life. We get stuck in routines and patterns that keep us going, but often times get us nowhere. Like walking in a circle.

I heard someone say the words "the circle of life" and there he was again. I might have missed this life-changing moment had it not been for the accident I came upon that day. That would also mean that I never would have met Jack.

It was on a back road near where I live.

As I came around the corner, I saw the lights of emergency vehicles ahead.

Off to one side was an over turned car partially blocking one lane of the narrow country road. I knew there would be no getting around this, nor turning back.

Several more police cars came in behind me now blocking my retreat.

I felt uneasy just sitting there listening to my radio, so I got out of the car and walked toward the accident. I stood with a small crowd, a collection of other drivers and neighbors who were drawn to the scene.

"I can't figure how this happened," one person said. "It's daylight. I would figure at night he would have simply missed the curve.

I was about to ask if the driver was injured, when suddenly a stretcher appeared from the other side. A blanket completely covered a body indicating there was nothing more that could be done.

"I hope he had his life in order," one person said.

"Do we ever?" Another replied. "I wonder what he leaves behind?"

There was silence as we all seemed to think about what we would leave behind had that been our fate.

That's when Jack spoke up. "If all you've ever accomplished in life was a collection of things, then you really leave nothing at all," he said.

One woman began a brief discussion about how important she thought "things" were in life adding, "I hope to leave my valuables for my children to remember me by," She then walked back to her car.

Jack shook his head in disagreement.

I knew there was a greater reason for me to be here. I now attribute this moment to a major  change in my own life. It was all based on what Jack said next.

"What we take and what we leave all depends on what we give."

As the group began to disperse I stayed back for a few minutes to speak with Jack. I knew he had a lot to offer and I was now convinced this was no chance meeting.

We spoke for awhile and watched until the car was up righted and towed away.

"It was a pleasure meeting you, my friend, I do wish it was under different circumstances," I said.

"It couldn't have been. It was meant to be," he said.

"Do you live nearby?" I asked.

His response struck me as odd. "Close enough that we will meet again," he said.

He then began to walk away disappearing around the corner further down the road.

We never did meet again, but every once in awhile I think of him. It was because of him that I began to see life as

a family style meal. You know, when plates and bowls are passed around the table usually with enough for everyone in attendance. Guests usually bring something of their own to add to the meal.

Life is like that. When you participate each day you bring something to the table. When a bowl is passed to you, never empty it, so that others after you can share in the bounty.

While some take all they can without concern for others, I have learned that, in the long run, by leaving some behind I end up with more than I can consume.

"What we take and what we leave all depends on what we give."

Bob Perks 2believe@comcast.net

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