If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell um/ People never get the flowers while they could still smell um
Kanye West- Big Brother.
2 years ago, almost exactly, a friend of mine committed suicide. Earlier this week, David Torrence passed away. As the running world erupted with touching tributes to David, I was struck by the fact that the stories people shared felt the same as the ones my friends and I told about our fallen friend two years ago. The stories shared weren’t exactly the same, of course. David had travelled the world spreading his huge smile, kind demeanor, and ballsy racing strategy from small villages in Belgium, to the Stanford University Track, to the Olympic Games. My friend was remembered for different reasons, he always took time for family, even if that meant missing parties or camping trips. He was hard working, he often used to wake up before anyone else and be running loops on a small grass field while others were dragging themselves out of bed and eating breakfast. The similarities I saw weren’t in the details, but rather in the greater theme. Both my friend and David are remembered for their best moments, and their best qualities. Not their biggest moments, or their greatest triumphs, but for their best ones, and those are almost always small and personal.
I am not here to give you some wise and ultra-zen lines about how to live. I don’t have that knowledge. In fact, as I write this, I have to admit, to myself as well as to you all reading this, that I struggle with the little things. I struggle to notice them and at times I struggle to perform them. All I want to share is that is seems like when we think about someone in the present, we seem to distill them into their biggest and greatest moments. We seem to ask, what races have they run, how fast are their PB's. However, when we think about those we have lost, we share and cherish the small, almost mundane things. It's like we ask, how his this person impacted us. I can’t help but believe that we should start to appreciate those around us in the same way we remember those who have passed.
So, as I read the stories about David and I remember my friend, I can’t help but want to emulate them, or at least emulate the way we remember them. To do the little things. But more than that, I can’t help but want to change the way I think about the people in my life who are great at the little things. I want to thank them for that, for a tiny act of kindness here, or a big smile there. I want to thank them for the little things.
It seems to me that records get broken and results get forgotten, or at the very least stop seeming so important. Small, honorable acts of kindness or integrity or dedication get remembered, and maybe we should start to think about the people we love, like the people we’ve lost.