For a bird, I flew enough.
When a close friend said these words to me, I did not fully understand the meaning. Sure, I knew the gist of what he said, but until I understood him a bit more, I never fully “got it.”
You see, he was more old school than I. It was a phrase his father used to say to him when a family member passed away. It was a way to come to terms with what is sometimes an early departure.
What did he interpret out of that? He wanted to instill the ability to see the good in every day. Appreciate what we had. Be happy. Be thankful; live for today. Love while you can.
He lives his life as such. Everyday he sees tragedy in the form of children afflicted with chronic disease. Everyday it breaks his heart, and yet everyday he goes back and starts the fight all over again on their behalf. Sometimes the battle is lost, he is sad, heartbroken. But even as he was, he appreciated the good times that the child must have had in their young life. He celebrates what was their life rather than dwell on their death.
He is 52. His father died at 56 and brother at 54. I think this has a lot to do with his thinking. He went skydiving a few years ago and vowed to GOD that if his parachute opened, he’d never do it again. Ironically, had it not opened he would’ve had the same result. But he did it, he rose to the challenge and marked it off his list knowing he would never do it again. He was satisfied. Once was enough. He flew.
It is almost frustrating being in his presence, which is odd given the great man that he is. He is so completely and utterly satisfied with his life. He has so much pain he witnesses, but it’s okay because he knows he did all he was humanly capable of doing. His complete and utter dedication is matched by none. His patients will never know what he sacrifices in his personal life so that he can dedicate more to them. He walks away at the end of the day knowing he did everything in his power to make them well. Knowing that releases him of any guilt that others may feel given the same circumstance.
I am honored to know him. To call him a friend. I tell him I worry because he stretches himself too thin and that he is killing himself with stress and running around to save the world. His response?
“If I die tomorrow, for a bird, I flew enough.”
Maybe knowing him will teach me to fly.