If you are reading this, you should know that I have struggled long and hard in making the decision to set what follows in motion. And chances are I am still struggling with the decision. However, once I post this online there will be no turning back.
I have written many thousands of words in my life. Some have been read by hundreds of people, some by just a few, some by only one and some will never see the light of day. But in every case, I have held something back. I have shared, but always from behind a veil. I have spoken, but always with care. Even my most emotional outbursts have been ‘edited’ to preserve the rawest of feelings and hold them back from public view.
I’m not saying that I will suddenly start sharing those hidden words or that I am going to change my approach in blogging. But this particular series of ‘letters’ will perhaps be the most open of all my writing – in terms of what I truly want to share with you.
People leave behind many things in life: legacies of wealth and service, memories of love and influence, inheritances of a material or inspirational nature. And when I think of all this, I realise that I don’t know what it is that I will leave behind for the world to remember me by – even if it is for a mere few days or weeks. I used to think my legacy would involve something of a literary or artistic nature, but with the years passing by on swift wings, I’m not sure if that will ever materialize.
Besides, as you grow older you begin to realise that you have little that is ‘new’ to tell the world. Life is life. Everyone goes through it and it involves pretty much the same experiences for every person, only in different ways and intensities. So I have no sage advice to leave behind for you. Instead, I have chosen to share something that has changed – and continues to change – me every single time I go back to it.
It is a Will and whenever I find myself wondering what else life has to fling at me or trying to figure out ‘what next?’, I open the pages of this essay from the pen of a dying man and find endless wisdom in his advice and his words. Some of you know him, other’s may not – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that what he says applies universally to all human beings. His words cross all boundaries of faith, race or age and give direction to anyone who wishes to seek out some kind of purpose in this life.
I could copy and paste the entire document here and be done with it, but I won’t. Because this isn’t just about sharing information, it’s about sharing what that information means to me. I want you to know what is important to me and to understand why I want you to have it as well. You know how when something exciting happens in your life, you want to rush and share it with someone special? Someone who will understand and feel what you feel? Someone who will enrich what is already an amazing experience. That’s what I want to do. I want to share the most precious thing I have ever come across with you. Because you are special to me.
But who are you?
This first letter is to re-introduce myself to you and you to me. There are many levels of people to whom I am addressing this and it’s up to you to decide which one you fall in.
(a) There is You.
You know yourself and a very few others know you as well. You are used to my endless words, but I would like for these not to become part of the deluge you once said you enjoyed drowning in, but now may very well be trying to simply forget. If you must forget, then forget everything except what I write in this series, please. These are the things I would have told you personally had the future permitted, the special thoughts I saved for a ‘right time’ that was never to come. These letters are my final gift to you.
(If anyone else reading these letters ever thinks they know who the (a) you is, do let them know when they’ve got mail? Much thanks.)
(b) You are my friends and my family.
The people who are close to me and those I admire and respect from afar. For you, these words are what I try to base my thoughts and my actions on. I have found no better replacement to live life by than these principles. I share them with you because you have selflessly shared your wisdom with me on countless occasions and given me impeccable advice even when I wasn’t ready to listen to it. I hope these letters will repay a fraction of your immense generosity.
(c) Don’t worry, even if I have never spoken to you or met you…I know you lot too.
If you’re reading this via email or facebook, I know you because I know every person I have ever added to my address book or accepted a friend’s request from. I know you and there is something about you that makes me want to be known as your ‘friend’. You are not a stranger, you are someone whose life matters to me, and so I want to let you in on the secrets I am discovering, because I think you can use them to your advantage and do much with them. As I write each letter in this series, I will thinking of you specifically as well.
There’s only one final thing to add to this first letter. As the days go by and you get these missives, I hope you find in what I share the same treasures I did. And if you want in turn to share them with your group of ‘yous’, then please do – on a single condition: that you actually believe in what you are sharing and that you sincerely appreciate its value.
Because words that come from an insincere heart will never touch another heart. I truly hope I touch yours.
And so we begin this journey. Just the two of us…