And I Heard Him Say . . .
Only four years after college, my mother was diagnosed with only months to live. Then, my father took seriously ill. For a short time, it looked as though he was dying too.
In a restaurant, across the street from a Mayo Clinic hospital, my mother and I became friends with a waiter — a guy who was joyful, unique, and fully alive. His name is Paul. His eyes had depth beyond his twenty-something years.
On the third day we saw him, my mom suggested that I leave the hospitals behind and take him on his offer to see the countryside.
So I did.
Armed with a basket of sandwiches from the restaurant, we got in his jeep and made one stop on the way out of town. . . . at a hobby store.
“I’m taking you kite flying,” he said.
As we watched the kite against the blue sky, Paul used a movie metaphor to talk about life. It’s a natural subject with the newest of friends in a town where “life and death” is a way of life.
“It’s my movie,” he said. “On the last day, when my life flashes before me, I want it be a noble part that I played.”
Character . . . a role in a story, a movie, a play.
Character . . . a one-of-a-kind, remarkable person
Character . . . the moral, ethical essence and nature of a human being.
I’ve been thinking of that “when my life flashes before me” movie — it’s not high drama that defines the character of a life. I’ve been thinking about a guy who made the world safe again using some colorful tissue paper, four sticks, and a ball of string.
Taking a person kite flying can be a most noble act.
–ME “Liz” Strauss