Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Thu 10/16/2003 6:21 AM
Random Thought: In Memory

It was not an easy walk this morning. I was carrying the weight of a heavy loss. Upon returning from a joyous extended weekend spoiling my grandbaby, I was shocked to learn that a devoted friend and a revered colleague of mine, Tony Grasha of the University of Cincinnati's Psychology department, died. He had silently struggled. Now he is at peace. I only wish all of you had the good fortune to know him.

And when those who knew Tony hold an Irish wake for him at the Lilly Conference in November, of what will we toast? I cannot speak for others. I will lift my glass not to what Tony did or what he had, but to who he was. His ambitions, memories, knowledge are all no more. His renown will sooner or later shrivel to nothingness. His tenure is of no consequence. His books will ultimately go unread. His position is gone. His resume will no longer be read. The titles and degrees seem so unimportant. His background is irrelevant. It doesn't really matter whether he was tall or short, fat or thin, brilliant or mediocre or below average, or homely or beautiful, rich or poor. Who cares now what was the amount of his income, the kind of house he lived in, or the make of the car he drove? His religion or lack of religion is of no consequence. The color of his skin isn't important. Even his gender doesn't count as I count up my loss. All those temporal things that so many people chase after and even fight over because they think really matter in the end really don't matter. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

No, I will lift my glass not to what Tony did or what he had, but to who he was. I will toast the tracks he left on my soul. I will toast his passion, respect, sensitivity, selflessness, compassion, enthusiasm, courage, encouragement, support, sincerity, integrity, friendship, authenticity, wit, laughter, smile, charm that have empowered, enriched, and encouraged me. I will toast his sharing and giving, not his acquisitions. I will toast his character, not his competence. I will toast his significance, not his success or reputation. I will toast the wisdom he shared, not the knowledge he had acquired. That is how I will value him, how I will measure the value of his days, and how I will acknowledge how invaluable they are to my days.

I will lift my glass not to what Tony did or what he had, but to who he was. Living a life that is significant, that matters, isn't a matter of accident or circumstances. To live a life that matters is a matter of choice. Tony chose to live a life that matters. Would we all. And that is what I will toast, for long after memories of him have faded away what he gave away will last in each of us and in those to whom we give.

To Tony!

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
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                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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