Yesterday, I attended a funeral of a friend who died young (in his mid 30s) to cancer.
While the ceremony was filled with both tears and some laughter (most notably his, which mentally could be heard by all in attendance), I came to realize that there was a lot to this person that I never really knew about, and even in his passing, I learned a few things that I thought might be worth passing along here.
I learned that in the end, it's relationships that matter most. For one can live life to its fullest, but if you can't share it with people, what good is it?
This was most apparent to me during the ceremony when I saw how well-attended it was and how people of different backgrounds (Asian, Hispanic, African American, Caucasian, etc.) came together to remember him.
From the stories told by those who knew him very well as well as from the time that I got to know him, my friend pursued his passions (whether it be fishing, basketball, construction, family, you name it) with a vigor and intensity that few people I know have dared. There was even a story about how his group saved a life on a rafting trip when none of them either rafted or swam before. There was also another about how he held on to a compadre who tried jumping across the Merced River and didn't quite make it across; nearly getting swept over Nevada Falls in Yosemite (folks, don't try this!) during his brazen younger days.
Perhaps that's what we all could take away from this - to put yourself out there (hopefully without risking your life unnececessarily) to try different things, relate to people, and find yourself. While Julie and I have chosen to make waterfalling the mechanism through which we strive to live, the hope is that we all can find it in our hearts to respect, cherish, embrace, and learn - regardless of what our passions are.