I have some very strongly held beliefs about certain things that have been highlighted in previous posts and I’m sure, will show up like one of Ebenezer Scrooge’s ghosts, in the future. But for now, let me take a side step and create a dichotomy; although your beliefs and passions are important and they DO matter, in the same breath, in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter at all.
Stick with me now!
When I was younger, I had two grandparents pass away. As a grown man I have known people who have passed away, and I have mourned their loss in my own way and at my own pace. Yet, I have only lost one person who I was truly close to. My Grandfather. Yes I lost two other grandparents, but I was only a boy then and not formed any particularly close relationship with either of them. My maternal Grandfather and I however, were very close. We had many differences like all people of different generations, namely our stance on religious beliefs; but we could discuss these things like adults without it turning into a fight of some sort. The one thing we shared though was special to me: our love of books. It was not something that was often discussed between us, but it would often be the cause of a sideways glance in each others direction when the subject of books or reading came up in our vicinity. That secret look to each other that said ‘we both know the power of the story’.
When he passed away, I remember seeing his corpse as it was layed out in his coffin. His body so still and motionless. His skin, pale and waxy from the treatments he had received to help him retain his ‘life-like’ appearance. It was during this moment that it hit me. NOTHING MATTERS!
Whether he was a rich man or a poor man, his body still remained rigid. Whether he was kind or selfish, he wouldn’t wake up again. Whether he had surrounded himself with people who loved him, or fools who betrayed him, it didn’t matter. Nothing could change the fact that he was dead and his life was over. The only thing that remains when you die, is other peoples memories of you. And what were my memories of him?
They were of a man who was self sufficient, who loved his family dearly, who was stubborn and opinionated, yet kind and soft with his words. He was a man who loved and was loved in return. He was a man who lived his life in his own way. I might not have agreed with all of his choices or beliefs, but he stood by them in his own quiet way and owned them. They were his. They did not define him, but they were important to him.
This is what matters.
Your money, your wealth, your things, your possessions and all the things you did to other people so that you could get your hands on them. None of those things matters.
Being a good person matters. Living your life with some sense of dignity and purpose and with passion. That matters. Not only because it might be the ‘right’ thing to do. Not only because it makes you feel good about yourself, but because when you’re gone, it does matter that people can help keep you alive by honouring your memory. Be an inspiration to others by being true to yourself. It’s the only thing that really matters.