Lives Lived/Lessons Learned
Most things in life start off small, and a grow bigger. Babies, love, seedlings. Grief is different, it starts off immense, often overwhelming; and with time ever so gradually eases, becoming smaller.
It’s been a challenging time for our family. My father-in-law, Dr. Eli Brent, passed away a little over three months ago, and last month his wife Charlotte died. As our grief diminishes, the clarity of their life lessons become more clear. They taught us many lessons, here are just a few.
1. Few things in life happen by accident. Life is a gift of infinite hope, multiple options and unbridled possibility. You must be inspired to build – not just what can be, but to strive for what ought to be.
2. They warned us that by not asking questions we commit the gravest mistake – deceiving ourselves into believing we have the answers. They demanded that we always listen, ask, and seek more.
3. They loved this observation by Margret Mead, “to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens could change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”.
4. To love and cherish the arts and artists:
· With art there are no losers.
· Artists raise awareness, not by making rules but by daring to break them.
· Artists are the heart and soul of humanity. Soldiers win wars, bankers win riches, artists win hearts. Only love touches souls and lives in perpetuity
5. To pursue life with open eyes, ears and hearts – recognizing that there is only one path to the soul – and that is the journey of living your truth…whatever it may be, and wherever you may find it.
6. To always dare
· To be leaders, not followers.
· To light, lights- not extinguish flames
· To open windows when doors are shut
· To reframe expectations, especially when options become limited.
· To rise above the crowd and filter the noise of negativity.
· To nurture inclusivity when exclusivity is an easier route
· To replace greed and nastiness with grace and love
· To do your quality best – without anger, bitterness or complaints
· To strive for respectful discussion with an open heart to the views of others – especially those we disagree with.
These are the lessons gleaned from two glorious lives well lived … lessons that, the more I hold on to them, the more they will crowd out the grief I still feel. May the memories of Charlotte and Eli Brent continue to be a blessing. It is what ought to be.