Jake’s been on my mind a lot this past week. That means I have been missing him, at night more than I think I can bear, but it also means I have been remembering a lot about him.
One of Jake’s corp buddies confessed to me that they considered Jake the “king of random” and then went on to tell the story of how Jake showed up one day after class telling everyone he had signed up for the A&M rugby team.
I remember that day.
I was flabbergasted.
He called me and said the same thing. Jake had never played a single inning or whatever they are, of rugby in his life. As far as I knew, he didn’t even know the rules. Jake truly reveled in the experience, our collective reaction, and the numerous injuries he obtained the times he played. I doubt he was any good, I am sure he went at it with extreme enthusiasm, but I know he gave it his physical all, which could be considerable.
I remember another time he called and told me he was going to apply for a summer job as a wrangler on a Colorado dude ranch.
A wrangler on a dude ranch. I stated the obvious.
“Jake, you don’t know how to ride a horse.”
“Yes, I do, you might say I started riding at 5 years old. Remember when we went to Big Ben on that family vacation?”
We all have our levels of honesty and rationalization and although I know Jake’s conscience suffered a bit with that over-statement of the truth, he got the job as a wrangler and that summer in Colorado was one of Jake’s best.
All this remembering got me to thinking. I remembered a time when my brother, a highschool volunteer fireman, (like my Jake) was called to a house. It turned out to be a friend of his, a drug overdose. My brother knew of the kid’s drug use and Neil told me something I will never forget.
“His parents have known the trouble he was in, they didn’t know what to do, so they did nothing. Doing anything is better than nothing.”
You never know what’s around the next corner of life. No one has the ability to tell the future or guarantee it. One thing you do have control over is whether or not you do nothing. Do something today. Try something new or venture somewhere you aren’t comfortable. Step out and help someone who will be completely surprised. Take a chance, not on luck but on life. I never learned much from the things that I knew I would be successful doing; I have always learned the most, about myself, the people around me and my place in the world, when I tried something I wasn’t sure I could do. Chances are that doing something.. well you just might make a difference. You are guaranteed to make a connection with someone that you wouldn’t have otherwise.