This last week, I have been reveling in the companionship of a wonderful friend of mine.
Vicki is visiting from Canada and we are having a fantastic time.
Every time she visits, I get a chance to explore my city through a different lens.
But the best part is the conversation.
The heartfelt discussions and explorations of creativity and life and love.
One of our discussions made me stop and think while we were talking.
And then I woke up the next day thinking about it.
And continued to think about it ...
And when that happens, I know to sit up and take notice.
So here it is -
I was telling a story that involved another person.
The description of the person was important to the story.
I found myself struggling to describe the person in a "politically correct" way because they suffered from a disability.
It felt so wrong to say "this person is xxx" -
you know-whatever the disability or personality trait or physical trait is.
As if this "thing" is what defines that person.
But it was important to the overall story.
I expressed my discomfort with this issue -
and that led to more discussion.
We talked about when you are referring to a common acquaintance with someone.
You say something like...
"they are tall with brown hair and brown eyes . . .and they are..."
And that's where the "key" description comes in.
Because hair and height and eye color are somewhat generic and rarely help the other person out.
Sometimes that description is positive, like
she is the artist, or the one with really curly hair or the one who is always volunteering for projects.
Other times it is not -
like she is always depressed or grumpy or never talks to anyone.
We talked about how many times, it's this desciption that makes you think -
"Oh yeah, I know who you are talking about . . ."
So then I asked -
"If you were referring to me - what would you use as the final description?"
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted the question.
This could hurt!
I braced myself and from the back of the car my daughter said
"the one with the loud laugh".
That's ok with me. I like that description.
In fact, it is something I have heard all my life.
People tell me they can pick my laugh out of a crowd.
But the conversation has stuck with me.
What are we doing in our daily life and as we deal with others that they will remember?
Are they going to remember us for something about our physical appearance?
Or will they remember us for one of our personality traits?
Would we be proud of what we are recognized for or would we be ashamed?
Will we be remembered for being kind or cruel?
Happy or sad?
Anger or laughter?
Compassion or bitterness?
Ego or humility?
Generosity or greed?
Love or hate?
Will we be remembered as the person who sat on the sidelines watching or the one who always jumped into a new adventure?
Or as the person who crumbles when life doesn't turn out perfect or keeps on going with a smile?
Life is hard.
Much of what happens is beyond our control and we don't always have a choice.
But we do always have a choice as to how we will react and how we will view it.
Happiness is a choice.
I know what I want to be remembered for -
Even if others don't always see me the way I want to be seen or remembered,
I want to do everything I can to make sure that I am living my life in a positive way -
and I believe,
that if we would all think about this -
and vow to be the person who shows love and laughter and compassion and generosity -
the world would be a pretty remarkable place.