The Gift of an Angel
It is More About My Feelings

Over the past couple of years, I have benefitted greatly from two dances with death.  While most people, who haven't danced with death, would not see any benefit to doing the dance, it was amazingly beneficial to me.  Dancing with death allows me to be free and to enjoy life.

I am a different cat than I was prior to those two dances.  In addition to feeling free and enjoying life, doing the dance makes me more serious about things that I say and write.  When I am attempting to make a point, I will say, "I'm serious."  Or "I'm telling you the truth."  I say and write things like that so often that it annoys me.  I feel like when I say that I'm serious that other things that I mention are not serious. 

I feel that the motivation is based upon knowing that I do not have the luxury of several more centuries in which to get some point across to my readers or listeners.  Therefore, I want to make my point as clearly and precisely as I can.  Therefore, I'll add a sentence to amplify my point. 

Another thing that I will say or write is that I appreciate what someone has done for me or for the world in general.  I will thank people for things that I would do for them without expecting any thank-you.  However, the dance pushes me not to leave any stone unturned.  I have benefitted from Randy Pausch and his Last Lecture.  Pausch reminds us all to show gratitude all the time to those that have helped us.  I follow his instructions all the time. 

Case in point.  Several months ago, I refurbished an old school desk for Calla, who is the toddler of my web administrator.  Actually, I love refurbishing furniture and done close to a dozen desks over the years along with other pieces of furniture.  When I did the desks for Jack and Owen, I told them that I thought a famous person used their desks when that person was in school.  Therefore, since I found this old desk in Chicago, I googled "famous person who went to school in Chicago" to find someone who might have sat in the desk.  As I looked through the list of famous students, I came across Jennifer Beals.  Therefore, I told Calla that Jennifer Beals, the actress, sat in this desk when she was in elementary school.

As a result of that use of poetic license, I realized that a movie, Flashdance, that I had enjoyed decades ago, expressed where I was today.  That is particularly true with the theme song, What a Feeling. Therefore, I wrote three articles about the influence that Jennifer Beals and her desk had upon me.  Additionally, I wrote a letter of appreciation to Jennifer Beals telling her about Calla, the desk, and thanked her for her acting.  Another example of this desire to thank people is a letter that I sent to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I appreciated Justice Ginsburg's leadership on the Supreme Court.

Now, both these letters were merely thank-notes to two different people.  Realistically, I do not even believe that either will actually be given these letters of appreciation to read.  That is not the issue.

The issue for acknowledging my appreciation is simply the need that I had to express my feelings.  Both those women receive volumes of fan mail letters daily and neither will have time either to read and/or thank the many letters.  Having done the dance, it does not make any difference to me whether they actually see the letter.  Nonetheless, my act of expressing my appreciation is a personal issue for me.  I benefitted and am simply acknowledging their gift.

Over a month ago, I called Carnegie Mellon University and asked to speak with someone who knew Randy Pausch.  Pausch delivered his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon, and that single lecture helped me to put the pieces of the puzzle of my life together in a way that I could clearly see and understand.  I was transferred to Mrs. Cleah Schlueter, who worked for him and knew him very well.  What ensued in the next half hour or so was someone who understood how transformative Pausch's Last Lecture was for me. 

You cannot comprehend how it felt to be talking to someone who actually knew Randy Pausch.  Cleah understood Pausch, and, therefore, could understand my needs.  I said to her that I just had to express my appreciation, since doing my dances.  To which she replied, "Randy was just like that.  He was always thanking people."

The only other person that has clearly understood me after my dances is Ayanna, my granddaughter.  At dinner several months ago, I asked her what changes she saw in me since I did the dances. These are the half-dozen changes that she has seen.

  1. You seem that your life has more direction.
  2. You are more determined.
  3. Life's fake fog is lifting.
  4. You are more present and discovering yourself.
  5. You are more emotionally involved with life.
  6. You have validated yourself.

To show my appreciation, I went out and bought several Li Bien angel ornaments.  I got one for myself, which added to my collection.  Additionally, I got one for Cleah Schlueter, GiGi, and Ayanna, because they understood who I was having done the dance.  In a physical way, the ornament expresses my appreciation for their understanding who I am.  Of all the various choices of Li Bien ornaments, the angel was the obvious choice.

Whether or not the recipient of any of my acts of appreciation realizes my gratitude is not particularly the point.  The point is that I could express it.  In that way, as Ayanna said, I validated myself.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

My Hauntings

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An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

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Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

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