Dude, where you been?

Where have I been? Excellent question. Been busy with life. How about you? How have the past three weeks been for you?

I rest my case, your honor.

Ever been invited to a last minute, surprise party?

So last night my neighbor’s wife threw a surprise retirement party for her husband. They’ve both been our good friends for the past 15 years. He’s 59 and has been a public school teacher all his life. He also coached sports and was particularly successful with middle school basketball at an historically black, low income middle school. He is white. He loved the young men he coached. He was the only white guy in an all black school and he was the team’s coach, mentor and hero.

It’s like an inspirational story with a reverse twist to it.

No matter though, those days are over.

There were about 50 people there. Friends, neighbors, fellow school teachers, family. Food, drink, loud 70’s rock and roll. But not too loud. Just right actually, so that you could easily have a conversation and tap your feet at the same time.

So I’m talking with two of his brothers, both older than him. I ask them if they’ve ever experienced a mid-life crisis. Both had.

They asked me and I said I experienced a significant enlightenment, but it never felt like a mid life crisis. It felt like a mid life celebration.

We continued our conversation for about 30 minutes. Two significant thoughts were presented by the younger of the two brothers. And by the way, both are retired. Both at least 10-15 years older than me. And I ain’t no spring chicken. I hope to make it to my 50th birthday this summer.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote down. And yes, I’m always prepared, wherever I go, to have some way to capture anything “significant”.

1. Pain times resistance equals suffering. (pain X resistance = suffering)

2. “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.” — Ghandi

Both of these struck me as profound. Profoundly simple. Simply profound.

The thought in number 1 is that if you don’t resist, than the formula plays out like this:

Pain, times zero resistance, equals zero suffering! (pain X 0 = 0)


The second idea, to me, speaks to the general human nature to seek revenge. Revenge is actually doing something you said was wrong. But because it happened to you first, now you rationalize that the “bad thing” is acceptable.

When is bad ever acceptable?

As humans, we are acutely afflicted with weakness and temptation. At least I sure am. How about you?

As a father of a young son, I cannot teach patience with impatience. How in the heck is that ever gonna work?

Thank you, if you’re still reading this, for reading this.

All I want to do is be a great role model for my son. If I can do that, than I fully expect to be a great husband, son, neighbor, brother, uncle, colleague, volunteer, etc.

Pain X resistance = suffering.

An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind.

Then I shared with the two brothers (I’ve known them for 15 years as well), one of my favorites, from St Francis of Assisi:

Everyday preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words.

Carpe diem!

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.