what’s it all for?

Alex passed away recently.  A heart attack took him quickly in the middle of the night.  Before anybody knew what was happening, it was over.

I met Alex when he was my roommate at a two-day company meeting.  That first evening, tendonitis exploded in my wrist.  I didn’t know what was going on, but the pain was bad enough I couldn’t sleep or even think about anything else.  Alex took me to an emergency room, in a strange city, and stayed up with me the entire night.  He told me stories of his family to keep me entertained.

Alex left behind a wife, two grown children, and a 13 year old daughter, all of whom are mourning the premature loss of their father and husband.

He also left behind a career in software sales, which means he was very good at showing customers how certain programs could make their lives easier.  But even though he was a gifted salesman, his employer will simply find another salesman and move on.

So what I want to know is, did Alex accomplish what he wanted to?  Now that he’s gone, does it matter that he was a good salesman?  How much of what we do on a daily basis actually makes a difference?  How much of what we do will impact those around us that we care about?

More importantly, how much of what I do matters?  Does my daily routine serve mainly to put money in my pocket, or does it do something beyond that?  Money is important, of course, because it can allow us to do the things that matter.  But if all we want to do is line our pockets, we may get to the end and find we didn’t actually accomplish much.

When I get to my end, whether it’s tomorrow or 60 years from now, I don’t want to be wishing I could have done more.  I don’t want to regret the path I took.  I want to have done something that mattered everyday.  I’m thankful to have known Alex, and to have the chance to think about my priorities now, before it’s too late.

This post originally appeared in the March 26, 2008, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.

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