Last night I got a call from an old business friend. I say “friend” because over time we became more than typical business acquaintances. Our two companies did business together for a number of years and eventually we got to know about each others families, interests and goals. I found his company had genuine integrity – rare today — and seemed to be driven by more than bottom line profit though they of course are in business to make money.
At the heart of this business philosophy is one of the owners whose first name is Gary. My friend called to tell me that Gary had just suddenly died; gone in a moment of time by a massive heart attack. We talked about how they will ever continue to function with Gary’s outlook and values but without Gary.
I had only spoken with my friend once since I left my old company. I had called to tell him how and why I had left and what I thought I might be doing next. Yet he thought of me at this time and felt I would want to know about Gary’s death because he said Gary spoke of me often. In fact, Gary had mentioned me again a few days ago. He told me that whenever they were dealing with a particularly unreasonable or difficult customer, Gary would always say; “Well so-and-so is no Barbara Lardinais.” That was his way of saying what a tough relationship he was having with the current customer and that I was the standard against which he measured those sorts of things.
I smiled. I had no idea Gary felt that way about me or ever spoke of me. I hung up the phone pondering two thoughts. The first is that we have no idea how much time we each have left on this earth. James 4:14 says; “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” The second thought is that we have no idea what influence and effect we have on others. We make a difference for positive or negative in other people’s lives. Each day, for however many days I have left, I want to remember that I matter.