As my best friend faces his final days on Earth, I am thinking and feeling many things, including how important it is to focus on the right things in life — good times with family and friends, doing meaningful work, battling injustice and pursuing dreams for a better you and a better world. There’s truly no time to hate or to waste.
I know it sounds simple. Do the right thing, honor all people, be kind and considerate. Yet, when you consider how our culture is drowning in negativity—much of it fed to us 24/7 by a voracious and unconscious media—it’s not simple. The reality is it takes all out dedication to the positive to make music and happiness instead.
Right now, I am hyper aware of the gifts we are given in life. DK can no longer walk. When I go on a walk or hike now, I take DK with me in heart and mind. He can also no longer eat food or drink water. Even music isn’t a comfort to him, as cancer eats away his spine and bones. Walking, eating, drinking and listening to music are precious gifts and seeing him do without is a strong reminder of this.
My desire to honor DK has a powerful hold on me. For instance, he always makes an extra effort to stay in touch (even now), which is something close friends do for one another. It is time for me to carry this torch. I want to be more like DK in this way and many other ways. His ability to focus and commit deeply to a path is also highly admirable. This is how you build things in the world, things like an ethics center and a healthy environment for a secular liberal arts education inside one of America’s most conservative counties.
More than any single accomplishment, to me DK’s legacy will be about his commitment to help people become better more fully realized people. DK has always been one of my biggest champions as a writer (along with Darby). I don’t know if I can express how important it is for a writer to have champions. Readers may be the end goal, but without champions you never reach any readers.
As I look to raise my own standards by living up to my friend’s, I reconsider how DK’s unique passion, work ethic and natural intellect helped him reach thousands of students over the years and impact their lives for the better. His eight-part series “An Introduction to Ethics” captures him at his professorial best. I plan to watch and re-watch these lectures for years to come.
Without question, DK will continue to lead and teach well beyond his physical life on Earth. He will live on as long as we love him and look to his life well lived as a source of strength for our own journeys.