So, a friend of mine died recently. His name was Ray. He was only 35. I didn’t know him very well, but some of my good friends had known him since they were kids. They said some amazing things about him. One kept saying how he lived a “different way.” In an age when strangers barely acknowledge each other unless they are in cyberspace, Ray was the kind of guy who would say hi to a stranger and even ask about their day. Everyone mentioned his unbridled generosity. I can attest to this as one of the few times we hung out was at a friend’s bachelor party. After dinner ended we were all asking how much we owed. Unbeknownst to us, Ray had picked up the tab. 15 guys at a steakhouse, some who Ray didn’t even know, and he picked up the tab and never expected anything in return. There were other stories like this from guys who had known him forever.
One story stuck out to me more than all the others. It wasn’t a story describing Ray’s generosity, his child like curiosity or his big smile that could put anyone at ease. What stood out to me about this story was the fact they had met only 5 years earlier, when Ray would have been 30 years old. I have a pretty large group of friends. Guys and girls who live all over the USA, Chile, and even Spain. However, I made all of these friends before I turned 30. It seems near impossible to make a new friend now. In fact, Vanessa and I even bet a steak dinner last year on who could make a new friend first. We both lost. Yet, Ray showed us it is possible. You can reach out to new people and create a bond.
Ray was an avid volleyball player, and he used to play “pickup volleyball” all the time. Upon getting to the court one time he noticed a guy waiting by himself. Ray approached this male, adult stranger and simply asked if he wanted to play. Much like we all did when we were 6 years old and it was time to go out for recess. Ray and his new volleyball friend ended up playing for the next 5 hours and developed a relationship strong enough that his new friend was speaking at his funeral five years later.
Ray is an inspiration to me. He has shown me that if you are genuine and have a big heart, you can not only make an impact on those you have known forever, but you can make new friends that you thought you never could have had. Making new bonds does not have to end with childhood. You can forever create new bonds and long lasting, meaningful relationships throughout your entire life.
Ray surely did.
posted by Brett