It’s the beginning of the wind down for my writing so I thought it time to go back over your attributes; to be sure you are placed squarely in our life. It’s also been a long haul and still isn’t right. None of this makes sense and it hurts every day. But it’s time to learn from you and push your presence to the way we live. Be with people and value life: your life, with reference to your attributes written on Day 10. As always, the conversations with me in the night are complex with several of me in the room. Mulling over words and meaning. So here’s to you. Memories of you with this attribute: Respect and listening are two sides of the same coin.
When your mom was hauling you to practice games as a kid, she drove a Volkswagen bus. You and your buddies were in the back and talking away about all the goofy stuff kids talk about. She would joke with me how you didn’t have a clue: You thought she couldn’t hear and yet she was listening. Notice the difference. Hearing is a prelude and auditory. Listening is far more important and perceptual. You must have learned from her knowing how to listen.
My most recent memory of your listening was with all the work on your paver monument patios in the forest yard and the granite bar. We bantered over ideas on all things landscape. You would listen carefully: consider, banter back, challenge, add, interpret, question, and move forward with trust. Not necessarily accurate information but forward movement. Because it was movement that defined your life.
Getting the back hoe stuck in the mud is a classic example of you listening to me and then us promptly following a course of action that couldn’t have been more ill-conceived and wrong. But you listened, tried, and adjusted. Your brilliant idea of pulling it out of the woods with long stretches of cord tied to your truck was more listening. Back and forth: consider, banter back, challenge, add, interpret, question, and move forward with trust.
So it was this back and forth nature of listening that provided the respect of opportunity, usually through people. Admiration, trust, and awe in others with you. Your ability to understand from them, consider their perspectives. The respect you had for your teachers, classmates, and friends over the years. The respect you had in not fully knowing but trusting, with information frail and possibly wrong. The respect you had in listening carefully: consider, banter back, challenge, add, interpret, question, and move forward with trust. The respect you had in trying.
It’s this movement between listening and respecting that makes them two sides of the same coin. It’s a quiet movement with deliberation, tolerance, and trust. It’s what you did best and we will follow your lead.
We love you buddy. You set a high bar.