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Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Power Of Paying Tribute

Imagine for a moment that something from your life was highly newsworthy. Let's keep it on the positive side of the ledger - an invention or other significant "first", or an artistic, philanthropic, or sports-related accomplishment. Would you rather be publicly acknowledged while you were alive or would you prefer some kind of posthumous recognition? I'd wager anyone reading this - i.e. people like me, aka folks with modest and circumscribed life accomplishments - would prefer the tell-me-while-I'm-still-alive version. Put another way, when did you last hear a dead person express gratitude for a tribute?

OK, now leave fantasy-land. When was the last time you told someone, out loud or in writing, how much you appreciated what they bring to your life? If you haven't said or written anything to anyone in a while, what's holding you back? Although I give myself generally high marks in the don't-wait-until-it's-time-to-deliver-a-touching-eulogy sweepstakes, sometimes weeks go by and I haven't taken the time to tell someone how important they are to me. And the gap between my written notes to people who have made a difference in my life has gotten inexcusably long. Lately, I've tried to catch up a little there by using e-mail to acknowledge others. Though e-mail is not as personal as a letter, it's still the written word and can be saved. Permanency is powerful.

Feeling that power is restricted to those who are still alive. Although this may be a common sense statement, in my experience, it's far from common practice for us folks on the bell curve to either give or receive these tributes. What has been your experience?

1 comment:

  1. This post ties in closely with past posts on gratitude. I make it a practice to express out loud what I'm thinking and then also put it in writing. This is a simple enough thing to do. Yesterday I asked a produce clerk if he had a specific variety of apples that were not on display. He asked me to wait, disappeared into the back room and emerged with the requested item. After a short conversation with him, I stopped at the courtesy desk and filled out a customer service form, citing his name (from his name tag) and all that had transpired. On a more somber note, I recently lost my uncle who was in his mid-eighties. My mind immediately jumped back to the conversations we had regularly in the nursing home. He always knew how important he was to me. The power of speech, the power of the pen, the power of outreach - we should constantly be giving tribute.

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