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For Life, For Opportunity

July 22, 2017

In the pool this morning for exercise, I allowed some random thoughts to swim together, as it were, while I was doing my laps. As we all know, sometimes one thought leads to another and what appears to be disconnected actually makes some sense when put together.

This past week, my wife and I and our son attended the funeral and burial of a contemporary of mine. We have been associated with the family for a very long time. The connections ranged from friendships in common social circles to participation together in Scouting over the years.

Afterwards, as is tradition, we visited the family’s home for the so-called meal of condolence (Seudat Havra’ah) and attended the religious service there, which was a part of the afternoon/evening (Shiva Minyan). I returned to the home the following evening as well for the evening prayers and will do so again for as long as the family wishes.

So, naturally, due to the intensity of these events, I have been ruminating about all of this for several days.

Maybe it was the conjunction of Scouting and prayer that led me, randomly while swimming this morning, to think about a particular Scouting prayer that is often said at Scouting events before meals.

It is called The Philmont Grace and it goes like this:

For food, for raiment
For life, for opportunity
For friendship and fellowship
We thank thee, O Lord

I have always liked this prayer. It is simple, succinct, yet all-encompassing. Even so, the part of the prayer that came to me while I was in the pool swimming was the second line: “For life, for opportunity.”

Here’s why:

For life — Our friend who died had a good life, although he was challenged with health issues. From knowing him and from listening to the eulogies, I know that he was a good husband and father, and I am certain he was very proud of his roles as such.  He was a mensch in so many ways and so provided his family during his lifetime with food, raiment, life, opportunity, friendship and fellowship, and much love, all of which made his life important, significant, and memorable.  As we say in our tradition, “may his name be for a blessing.”

For opportunity — For myself, personally, I have come away from these events with my own sense of gratitude for the experience, in that I had the opportunity both to honor this friend’s memory and to lend emotional support to his family during their time of intense grief.

In writing this short piece, I am also reminded of this quote that I have on my business website:

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

For life, for opportunity — This is what I have been thinking about, and this is how I live my life, ever thankful for the opportunities that come to me to give of myself when I can.

***

David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes who has become much more sentimental and reflective as time goes by. His business website is at http://karpmediation.com .

 

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