In all endeavors we choose to embark upon during our lives, especially in the pursuit of life itself, there are moments that will stand out to us in our heads when we choose to remember them. It’s really kind of funny, kind of strange how these moments that our lives are comprised of define our lives so clearly. I appreciate a quote from The Way of The Peaceful Warrior (book): “There are no ordinary moments”. Yet, one would be a fool to say that some moments are not elevated, or recalled to our minds with greater emotion than others we’ve experienced.
A fellow student at my school died last week; his name was Sean Severson. He probably awoke similarly to me that Thursday morning: tired, but gaining energy slowly as he looked forward to the day, which stood before him as any other. Both of us grabbed a quick breakfast, hopped on our bikes to head toward school. I arrived at school safe and happy. I was ignorant, unaware that a mere kilometer away or so, a person, a guy who went to my school, who knew and hung out with some of my friends, that was the same young age as me, was struck by a car as he was crossing the street. Flung from the bike, he smashed into the cement road, suffering traumatic injuries that, the next morning in the hospital, would prove fatal.
What would Sean’s life have been like had he not been killed? We, as humans, can do all the speculation and analysis we want yet…..we’ll never know. The only things we can define Sean’s life by is who he was, what he had done, and most importantly, the impact he had on others. And what an impact he had. One of my classmates said on a Facebook post, “So I’m not going to say anything sad about Sean Severson because that’d be honestly just plain disrespectful to who he was. Sean was an awesome guy, and he’d always be that one guy who could make you laugh just by talking with him. We didn’t talk much this year, but we still bumped fists, just like good old times in middle school. You made history first period that much more awesome dude. If there is a heaven, I know that you’re making it better up there too. RIP.”
….Take a moment and try to remember fifth grade. Unless you’re somehow in sixth grade and reading this, you probably only remember a handful of things you specifically did. These are the moments I mentioned earlier that are “elevated” in our memory, that stand out from the rest. David (I am not going to write his name here, I will just call him ‘David’ in this article) remembers the fist bumps that he and Sean would exchange. A small gesture, yes, but it their minds, it was bigger than that; it was a moment in which they both recognized, excepted, and celebrated themselves. Some moments may be large in scale while, others, such as the one described, are smaller. Yet, all the moments that Sean, you, and I will be remembered by all have one thing in common: they made an impact on others. When we die, the impact we make on others will be the determining factor as to what people will remember us by; out of the cloudy, complex construction of our descendants’ minds, it will be the most strongly remembered part of who we are.
We as human beings, need to decide, now, what we will be remembered by. In the movie The Dead Poets Society, as John Keating showed his class the pictures of the classes long before them: “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” Do as Sean Severson did until March 21st, 2014: make life extraordinary. Make moments.
Thank you for reading