Wednesday, August 05, 2009

181. The True Measure of a Man

And I'm not talking inches here.

So, what is it? The size of his bank account? The status achieved through his career? A natural leader that people look up to and admire? The car he drives? Being constant unlike the moon? Being the greatest person in the world before the eyes of his children?

Probably all that, depending on where you sit.

I knew a guy once, during my uni days. A pretty decent guy, but oft to much unnecessary brooding and wandering about, lost within his thoughts. You could tell that he was never really present, always that somewhere else...probably in that distant landscape existing in his mind...anyway, this guy, in one of his more lucid moments, shared with me his view on the true worth of a man.

You see, he had lost a casual friend he knew during our uni days, a guy he occasionally jammed with, and who was apparently a killer guitarist. Now his friend unfortunately succumbed to diabetes, and though he did not know him or count him as one of his closest, he was still utterly devastated, as devastated as anyone could be. And for the first time in his life, he told me, he felt closer to death than ever before. It was as if this dark shadow fell without warning or reason, a doom that made him realise how insignificant he was in the grand scheme of things. And for a waking moment in his life, he said, he felt the presence can one put it? Divinity. He felt closer to that divine Creator of all things glorious and terrible. And he knew like never before of his own mortality, and of the true worth of things.

And in that moment, he truly believed that the true measure of a man was, as he put it, the memory that he left behind...of how he would be remembered, probably a compatriot, not faultless, but someone who tried his best, and knew how to have a good time, and believed and would strive to achieve something wonderful in his life, to make a beautiful thing out of it, who would sing with a careless abandon, and constantly seek places where honey could be found.

Now, this man, as fallible as he is, and susceptible to a great many weaknesses, would always take the true path when it came to him, no matter how hard it would be, as he knew there could be no other. And it would give him comfort in the cold of night, even as there would be moments of restlessness before he slept. But during his slumber, there would be a blissful peace, for his conscience, and his soul, would be glad in the knowledge that the path he took would bring him closer to home whence the cold of that inevitable winter comes.

That's how he remembers his departed friend. And that's how he would want to be remembered.