Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Friday, January 3, 2014

9-9-13 RMB Last Lecture

9-9-13 RMB Last Lecture

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

It’s Monday. That’s about all I have to say about this day. I’ll admit here that I am writing this letter days later and I see in my notes all that I wrote for this day is “It’s Monday.” I know I lived it. I breathed in every minute of every hour of it. Yet, as I look at the calendar, I draw a blank.

If I were more creative, I could make up an awesome day to tell you about, complete with adventure and excitement or insight and inspiration. Hmm, I got nothin’.

Instead I will mention something I did on another day, over a period of several days really. I read the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

I read it at the mall on my lunch breaks, carried it in my car so I could read it wherever I went and re-read some sections over and over. Just as I search for my own answers, I searched through his words for the answers he found and opted to share.  

He was a vibrant, young man, given three to six months of life that he stretched out to almost a year. In that time, he worked with another writer to gather his thoughts and package them in the book for us all and for three in particular, his children.

Before he knew his fate, he had been slotted to give a lecture in a series dubbed “The Last Lecture.” After the diagnosis he made good on the engagement. It was his last lecture. In that lecture he dared his audience to overcome obstacles. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play them.” Those were words he lived by. About his lecture he wrote in the book, “I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.”

His lecture became a YouTube sensation, his book a bestseller and his life an inspiration to untold numbers. Why? Because he spoke when many would have declined…he did so with humor and insight…he meant well…he left a legacy for his children that the world benefited from. The Last Lecture has been translated into dozens of languages. Some values are universal or at least they should be.

Near the end of the book, he added short phrases that carried a lot of weight: Don’t obsess over what people think, No job is beneath you. Tell the truth, etc.

He mentioned that after he got his PhD, his mother told people “He’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.” No, he wasn’t the kind of doctor that helps people, he was the kind of person that helps people.

Yours truly,

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