An issue about conduct on the 1000 Challenge page was addressed the other day... about people getting off topic of what the point of the page was.
First, I would like to thank the person who did address the issue.
Second, this is something I am extremely passionate about. I believe in the 1000 Challenge with all my heart and not only that I believe that every single one of us can learn something from the 1000 Challenge and use that which we learn to make our lives greater. Having said that, the only way this works is if the integrity of the page is maintained. The page is not for flirting, celebrity discussions, or to make travel plans etc... please, please, please be respectful of me and others and keep those discussions off the 1000 Challenge page.
Before reading any further, I strongly encourage you, if you haven't already, to read a blog post from early April about why I have chosen to do the 1000 Challenge. I have included a link to the 1000 Challenge Page that has that blog achieved. It contains the background information of today: Why The 1000 Challenge
This week is a tough week for me. Fathers day is on Sunday, it will be my second one with out my Dad. I will talk more about that later this week, but for now I want to focus on today.
Today is the two year anniversary of one of my best friends, Gabe, aka, Maverick's, suicide. As you will see in the message below I refer to it as his "death," but it is important for me to acknowledge here that Gabe made a choice. He had reached a point in his life where he was struggling and didn't think things were going to get any better so he chose to end his life.
Myself, everyone who was close to me, everyone who was close to Gabe, we all struggled after he made this choice. I can remember in the weeks that followed, there would be times where myself and my girlfriend at the time would not speak any words we would just sit there and sob. She barely knew Gabe, but she loved me. While I mourned the loss of Gabe, she mourned losing me. It was a heartbreaking time period for both of us.
I was lost. I had seen things, experienced things that few people will ever be able to relate to. I certainly could not at the time. My friends struggled with being around me - they didn't know how to be. They had always seen me as this strong person, I was the person that had all the answers, but suddenly I didn't. I was the one that always had the light in my eye, but now that was gone. I was always the one that organized the "play" days, but I didn't feel like playing any more. No one faulted me either. I had images, smells, sounds, burned into my head of finding Gabe in the bathroom. Even now I can still watch the entire experience like it was yesterday, I can still hear every gasp and gurgle coming from Gabe, I can still smell the dried blood on my arms and hands.
I talk a lot about the ripple effect: the idea that when we cast a pebble into water the ripples travel far beyond where the pebble initially lands. In the metaphor, us and our actions are the pebble, the ripples are the results of our actions, they often reach far beyond us. When Gabe made the choice to end his life, it was like he threw a boulder into the water and it caused waves, not ripples, but waves. Waves that even still, two years later, are impacting people and effecting their lives. Case in point... if you are reading this and this is moving you, making you stop and think... that's the ripple effect in action.
I came up with this notion, this idea: "World Worth." The idea was if someone like Gabe, truly new their worth to the world, would he have made the choice? I do not think so. You see the notion of world worth is that we all have a worth to the world, far greater than what we give ourselves credit for. When we make choices in life they do not just affect us, they affect the entire world (ripple effect). The problem with world worth I have struggled with is how do I teach it to people so someone who finds themselves in Gabe's situation does not make the same choice he did.
It dawned on my on Monday - World Worth is not something that can be taught, it must be shown. People must be shown their worth to the world. So how do you do that?
The blog you will read today, the video I will post later today, as well as a few other pieces of writing I will share with you over this week are my best attempt to show you all your world worth. I am going to share with you my struggles, my thoughts, my ideas, and my lessons learned through all of this. It is my hope that through my sharing of this very personal side of myself that you all will come away with a better understanding of not only what your worth to the world is, but also how to better acknowledge someone else's world worth.
Below you will find an email I sent out to my friends and family on June 15th 2010 - The one year anniversary of Gabe's suicide.
June 15th, 2010 Email:
As some of you know and many of you may not, today marks the one year anniversary of my friend Gabe's death. It is human nature to read that line and immediately take a deep breath and say something like, "oh no," or "poor Jesse" and then to to start thinking about how you need to email, call, text me to see if I am ok and that your thinking of me. While those are always appreciated :) it is not neccessary. What you could do instead for me is to please read the following carefully. And if it resonates with you, please forward it on to those whom you love and care about. With today and the upcomming first fathers day without my Dad I have been spending a great deal of time reflecting these last couple of weeks and what follows is a summary of some of the life lessons I have learned this past year. Thank you all in advance for being a part ot it.
- Never Give Up: A friend of mine has a puppy who was hit by a car several weeks ago. The prognosis for her did not look good. She has since had at least two different surgeries to try and repair fractures in her body so she will be able to someday walk again. She still can not walk as of writing this, but every day she tries and every day she comes a little closer. What is more amazing is that everytime you see her she still runs (it's more of a scoot) up to you with the same smile and energy she had before. She still tries to eat your shoe laces and she still wants to lick you to death. While fate has dealt her a tough hand, she seems determined to not let it get the best of her. She still tries, she still moves forward and she refuses to give up. We all get tough hands dealt to us from time to time in life, but if we do our best to move forward each day with a smile on our face, we can and will get through.
- Don't hold back: With both Gabe and my Dad I left many things unsaid - just as I know I have left many things unsaid with those of you reading this. Life is so short and so precious. When I was in Haiti I met many people who had their entire world altered in just a few seconds. You never know when your last opportunity will be to say what you have always wanted to say. Don't leave things unspoken. Tell the people in your life today what they mean to you. Tell those you have lost touch with how they impacted your life. And the ones you are afraid to tell them everything you want to say... they are the most important, so start with them first.
- Don't be afraid: As I said before, life is short. I spent much of my earlier life living by bull shit constraints I had self imposed on myself due to fears I had. Fear of not being accepted, fear of not being funny enough, fear of heights, fear of death, fear of not being loveable, fear of not being good looking enough, fear of failure... the list could go on forever. It is natural to be afriad, but was is not natural is for us to let fear dictate the course of our life. Fear comes in different forms. There are physical fears - fear of heights. There are emotional fears - fear of being vulnerable. Fear can and will restrict your life. Challenge yourself to face your fears. It is hard, but the rewards that come from it will be worth the challenge and will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
- It's water under the bridge: A good friend of mine told me a story about how he ran into a person who had wronged him pretty badly in a business deal a few years ago. He went up to that person and told the guy, "I just wanted you to know there are no hard feelings, it is water under the bridge." Forgiveness or water under the bridge, is such a freeing mentality. It does not mean you have to be friends with these people, it does not mean that in my friends case, he will ever even talk to that person again, but what it does mean is that he gets to live his life free of the negativity of the past relationship. Forgive those whom you haven't. You don't have to like them, you don't have to ever speak to them again, but Life is to short (sound familiar?) to spend it pissed off. So do your best to let go of what your holding onto.
- Love: We all want it, we fight for it, we die for it... when we have it we take it for granted. Love is the most simply complex thing ever. I still have not even scratched the surface of understanding it, but what I do know is this. It is a gift and embrace it. Romantic, friendship, family, whatever kind of love it is, it is special and a privilege to have it. Do your best to love your best. It is a precious commoditty - one the world is in entirely to short of a supply of. Tell someone you love today just how much you love them, but don't just say the words feel them.
- You are privileged: I used to joke with a V.I.P to me about how they were privileged. What I didn't understand in the time of making those jokes is how we all really are privileged. We are privileged to be alive, to have what we have in our life, to have met the people we have, to have the friendships we have, to breathe the air we breathe. The list could go on forever. There are a lot of people who have gone from this world that I am sure wish they could still be here. Life is really stinking hard and unfair at times, but it really is a privilege to be alive and have the opportunity to be here on the earth at this time with the people you know and the life you have in front of you. So do your best make the most of it and embrace what you have because you are privileged to have it.
Ok, that's enough for now. If you have made it all the way to this point, thanks for your time and reading the above. I hope it resonates with you, if not, it's just me being sappy ;0) I hope you all have a great day today. Thank you all for being a part of my life to this point and I look forward to what the future holds. I am who I am today because of all of you - Thank You.