Saturday, December 3, 2011

60 Years Late

Even the fear of death is nothing compared with the fear of not having lived
authentically and fully.

Frances Lappe

Hello Jon
How do we authenticate a life? What yardstick do we use to measure a life's worth? What map do we have to chart a life, even a short one, that is lived to the fullest? I'm such a humanitarian that I believe the only way we can take the dimensions of anyone's life is in how it affects, directly or indirectly, other people's lives.

There have always been a few people in my life that I look up to and think about whenever I'm involved in any project or activity. Even if they never know about it, I want to make sure they would be pleased if they did.

About twelve years ago I worked on a play about two old vaudevillians who flee the city in retirement and live in a cabin in the woods. When neighbors come to call who recognize them, they ask the two old guys to do one of their routines. So they do.

The other actor and I got along very well on stage. We were a real two man team. But backstage he was a problem. He was one who liked to criticize, and make jokes at other people's expense. Sometimes I was the butt of his jokes, but I refused to let it bother me. Instead I treated him with equality, equanimity and respect.

Because there was a song and dance number in the show we had a choreographer. One day in rehearsal during a ten minute break, instead of going outside as I usually did, I took a seat in the house directly in front of him. He leaned over and said "I really am impressed by what you are doing and I admire the way you are with (the other actor).. You treat him with respect. You're a good man Dana."

I turned, smiled and thanked him. Then I went out to the park in back, sat by myself on a bench and wept.

Why did I weep? Because something occurred to me right then that I had never realized before. No one had ever called me "a good man" in my entire life. They said I was a good actor, or a good announcer or I did a good job. But never the plain, simple, genuine recognition that I was a good man. I had to wait until I was 60 before somebody actually said that to me. I will never forget that choreographer and that moment. It brings on a tear just now, thinking about it.

If you know someone who is a good person, don't just keep it to yourself, tell them so. And be genuine about it. You will never know what it means to them

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.


Geo. said...

Intriguing post,DB. In the film "Wizard Of OZ", Dorothy accuses Oz of being a very bad man. He replies gently, "Oh, I'm a very good man, just a bad wizard." When enterprises turn sour, I still confer that compliment upon myself. You reminded me. Thanks.

pacifica62 said...

Interesting entry db. 60 years late, but never too late. "You will never know what it means to them" true.

Jon said...

Often it takes a lifetime for one to recognize the goodness in oneself. It's indeed a rare treasure when someone else recognizes it.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

You have continued to affirm his assessment with your writing and making others think and reflect.