As I received the news of Patrick Swayze's passing, I felt numb. Like Ted Kennedy's death, it was an expected passing, and yet the realization somehow caught me off-guard. For a man who never won an Oscar, an Emmy, or a Tony, he sure made a lasting impact on our popular culture. More than that, he was a great teacher to us all in how to live and die with dignity and how to fight past pain and prognosis.
For a man who made the largest portion of his fame as a sexy leading man, he led a pretty quiet life away from the tabloids and with one woman. What many may not know is that he tried to own as much land as he could in order to fix mismanaged forests and create wildlife preserves. Perhaps that is his greater, though less spoken about lasting legacy.
I've been thinking lately about that song from Dirty Dancing - The Time of My Life, and the implications of a life lived in celebration. In this era of pettiness and greed, and in this year of such great loss, wouldn't it be beneficial to stop and look at the bigger picture? Wouldn't it be a better idea to stop and give thanks for those moments and people that have made our lives joyous and given them meaning?
There is enough to fret over and be unhappy about without even trying. What if we tried just for a moment to recall something that made us smile? What if we took a moment to look up at the sky, or into the eyes of a child, or into the mirror. Wouldn't we say that even with all of our trials and tribulations we've had the time of our lives?
Thanks for stopping by, and rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. Dance on, dance on.