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We’re All Dying – Let’s Be Nice

The world is filled with extraordinary people, and I think we regularly pass by many without taking the time to discover them.  This week I was so fortunate to have met one.  Her name is Stefanie and we met in a business meeting that a mutual friend had arranged for each us with an investor friend of his.  Neither Stefanie nor I knew what either of us was there for other than that we both shared a common friend, who himself is rather uncommon and special.

It seemed that more than half an hour had passed in the meeting before Stefanie spoke.  She began by telling the assembled group of five others about her having gotten cancer in her 20’s, how she beat it even after being given estimates by doctors of having only months to live, how she has since had two severe recurrences which led to similar grave estimates, and how she has cleared her body of the third occurrence with medical marijuana.  The survival story was uplifting and the cancer story was heart wrenching.  What was most inspiring was Stefanie’s zest for life.  It oozed from every one of her pores.  As she said so poetically, she is “horny for life.”

When she was done there was a new energy in that conference room.  Everyone’s senses had been altered (and without the benefit of any medical marijuana).  We all had a renewed appreciation of our lives, and a renewed appreciation for each other.  This feeling marked me deeply and I dwelled on that moment for days.  As I pondered Stefanie and our encounter I realized that when we come across someone who is frail, gravely ill, or dying we treat that person very differently.  We honor their lives, somehow cognizant of its finiteness.

I thought: aren’t all of our lives finite?  Put another way, aren’t we all dying?  I dreamed of what a world it would be if we treated each other and then ourselves with the same love and care and patience and gentleness that we would treat someone who is dying imminently or facing grave disease?  What a wonderful world that would be.

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