The time has come to reprint this. The actual event happened 13 years ago and first appeared in my journal last year. As a result of some evil treatment I received not long ago I think I need it now and hope it has dimensions for you.
Even the fear of death is nothing compared with the fear of not having lived
authentically and fully.
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 and value 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.
Ed, 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 Ed. 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 how much it means to them
DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.