Well Done, My Friend. Well Done.
This past Friday, I received word that one of my college friends was shot and killed in his home. Needless to say, everyone, his family, friends, and anyone who knew him were (and still are) devastated. I won’t go into detail about what may or may not have happened. You can read the story here for that info. The fact that it even happened at all is a shame. It’s tragic. It’s unfair. And it’s sad. His family now has to plan his funeral. And so close to Christmas. No family should have to endure that. But yet, it happens. Murder. Death. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a part of this world we live in.
His name was Corey Turner and he was a good man. I first met Corey in August 1991 when we were both incoming freshmen at Central State University. We got to know each other while becoming members of the marching band, which is quite a process, but a rewarding one nonetheless. It’s a process that helped build us into better musicians developing us mentally and physically. It also taught us to function as a unit and to band together harmoniously to get things done. Corey played alto saxophone.
The last time I saw Corey was on campus at Central State’s homecoming back in 2010 (which is kinda cool because that’s where we first met). We stopped and talked for a brief moment and caught each other up on what was happening in our lives. After that, we saw each other a few times around campus, but we didn’t spend a whole lot of time talking. And I regret that. At homecoming everyone is running around trying to hit as many parties and see as many people as they can so you never really get to relish someone’s presence. But either way, I’m still glad I got to see him and that our last exchange was the pleasant exchange of two old friends. So, I guess that cancels my regret. Because we gain nothing from wishing things were different. We can only remember what was and accept it and pray we do better going forward.
Corey was not a tall man or a man of large stature. But, he had a lot of heart, which trumps physical size any day. He didn’t take any mess from anyone and never backed down from anyone who was picking on him, which happened quite a lot. But he earned his respect and that’s one of the things I remember and admire about him the most. He was just an all around good man. Played organ at his church, was a teacher, and from what I hear he was in the process of starting his own marching band. He was doing great things in his community and was on the verge of doing even more. Until someone selfishly took it all away.
All of this has me thinking about my own life…and death. I wonder what will be said of me when I’m gone. What will people remember me for? Will they have to make up good things to say at my funeral? Or will they speak sincerely from the heart? Who will cry for me? Who will remember me? And for how long?
I think we all want to be well thought of by others. I know I do. That’s not to say that I live for approval, but I do want to make a good name for myself. I want to be remembered and I want to be remembered well. I want witnesses to my life. I want it to be known that I was here. Even more than that. Not to just have been here, but to have done something while I was here. I want to have served a purpose in someone’s life and to have helped further the Universe’s cause of progress and Love. I guess that’s why we strive for relationships and to impress others. Because we want people to notice us and see the value in us. Which is fine. But it doesn’t matter if we can’t see the value in ourselves. And until we do, we’ll constantly seek approval outside of ourselves, making us dependent, even slaves to the approval of others. But life isn’t about approval or being well-thought of. I mean, that’s cool, but life is about so much more. Life is about service. It’s about doing. Doing for ourselves AND others. Promoting the well-being of the Earth and the entire Universe through our thoughts and actions. It’s about doing what we have to do without losing ourselves in the process. And I believe…no, scratch that…I know that is what Corey did. His was a life of action. Selfless action. He did what he had to do and allowed the Universe to use him until it was his time to do no more. And that’s why I will always admire, respect, and remember him.
Like I was said, Corey was a good man. I will miss him. I pray for his family’s strength and peace and for the strength and peace of all who knew him and loved him and appreciated his life. We celebrate you, Corey. Your life was a good one. It was a useful one. And you lived it well. Well done, my friend. Well done.
Peace…until we meet again.
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