Posted June 2, 2012
A friend of mine recently asked if I would miss him if he was gone. By gone, I assumed he meant death, but I didn’t probe. I said, “Of course,” but it troubled me that he felt the need to ask. I have asked the same question of myself on occasion: “Would anyone miss me if I were no longer here?” Instantly I can create a list of people who would truly miss me. A few friends and family I interact with on a regular basis, whose lives I affect on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Then I can create another list of people who would say they would miss me, but what they would miss is more likely the potential for interaction, the knowing that I’m at the other end of a computer or phone line whenever they feel the need to make contact. And then, perhaps another list of people who, over the years, I have influenced or guided in some way and who would feel sad that I was gone, but whose lives would not change with my passing.
Why do we ask such things? Validation, I suppose. The need to know that we mean something to someone, that what we give the world is worth all the stress, agony and trouble each day can often bring. Today, my auto mechanic said that I make his day whenever I’m on the schedule and come in to get maintenance on my car. It pleased me to hear those words, which reminded me how my attitude can affect another person without even knowing. My actions can influence others in ways I don’t realize – either good or bad. A smile or a frown, a kind word or a slammed door, a phone call or silence can linger in another’s heart in ways we may never know.
My auto mechanic has a wonderful dry sense of humor and, although happily married, freely gives me compliments each time I visit. Not flirting, just good rapport and warmth. Despite walking out a few hundred dollars poorer, he nonetheless always makes me feel glad to have been there with him in that moment. We both feel uplifted by the interaction.
Every moment gives us an opportunity to either lift someone’s spirit or drown it. I will think of my auto mechanic when I descend into a place of negativity and remind myself that even someone I see only every 5,000 miles or so can be cheered by my presence.
Be assured, someone will always miss you when you’re gone.