Reflections on a life

Last week, Monday, Columbus day, I rode with Charles. We went out from my house a little after 7AM. It was about 40 degrees.

The previous Saturday, we attended a memorial service for our friend, Tom Little who was killed by Taliban militants in Afghanistan in August while returning from performing an eye clinic in a remote area. Charles shared as a friend from the podium.

Needless to say, the service and Tom were still fresh on our minds as we rode today.

We rode up Derbyshire Rd. and So. Clarksville Rd. which is the first big hill I rode with Charles a couple of years ago when we first started riding together. I was remembering that and how intimidating it was for me at the time. You know how you are climbing a hill and encounter false peak after false peak. It's so discouraging. This hill was like this. Finally I thought, "I won't keep looking at how steep the hill is ahead or how much there is to go. I'll just look at Charles' wheel, and if it keeps turning, I'll keep pedaling. I'm on your wheel, Charles." And that's how I got through it.

When reviewing Tom Little's life at the service, we saw a man who's life for the past 30 years was committed to bringing some good to a region of the earth sorely in need of it. I can't begin to imagine the privation and struggle of it. Trying to mend fragile human life amidst so much destruction. His life spoke volumes without anyone having to say a word. The unspoken question to me was "Having seen this, now what are you going to do?"

I'm not going to pretend I could attempt something on the order of what Tom did. This is not to make an excuse, but his was a unique calling. His intelligence, capabilities, personality and faith all came together in a synergistic way to accomplish a remarkable work.

However we can all do something to make the world a better place. We all have a responsibility to use the resources given to us wisely and not solely for our own gain. This is a tall order and not easily accomplished.

It is an encouragement to see someone who has gone before us. If he has kept going through tough, seemingly impossible circumstances, we certainly can keep going in the same direction.

I'm on your wheel, Tom.

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