Earlier today I watched a brief biographical special on TCM about Gene Autry. One of those interviewed was his son, Alan Autry. Of his father, he said, "It mattered to him to be a good man - not a flawless man, but a good man." I thought, "Wow, is that ever high praise coming from a son. Hell, from anyone." The fact that he spoke of what mattered most to the man is what grabbed me. He didn't say "he tried to be," he didn't say, "he was." He said, "It mattered to him..."
It shook me, rattled my sensibility. I thought about the people in my life, the people who've made and who make a difference in my life. I realized, upon hearing Autry's statement, that the people I've valued most are those whom have key things that matter to them - things that have little to do with me. What matters to them is often what matters to me - water seeks its own, granted.
I've had the advantageous misfortune of being at a handful of deathbeds. The dying weren't concerned with their health, their death, their bank accounts, assets, etc. What mattered to them was their loved ones. Each of them whispered to me, "Please make sure my family is okay when I'm gone." That was it.
What matters. In the end, what matters is what counts. That's the footprint we leave behind, not what we did, but what mattered to us.
Here's what matters to me. It's an incomplete list and in no particular order, as such lists should be, but these are the fundamentals. If you know me at all, you'll understand why these things are on my list. If you don't understand, you may one day, or not.
What matters to me:
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return."
~Eden Ahbez, Nature Boy
"Without art, we are but monkeys with car keys."
"You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
~Christian Friedrich Hebbel
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”
"There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That's what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.”
"To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.”
"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.”
~Henry Ward Beecher
"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.”
~Edward R. Murrow
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”