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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Connecting the dots

"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
~Steve Jobs

I started writing this last night as soon as the news hit my computer about death of Steve Jobs...the news of another life lost to this terrible disease called cancer. Stupid, stupid, crappy cancer. There seems to be almost a sense of surprise that someone like Steve Jobs, who knew great success, was susceptible to cancer just like anyone else. I just keep thinking this loss is a vivid reminder that cancer knows no boundaries and does not discriminate. It doesn't matter if you have a brilliant mind like Jobs or if you struggle to read. It doesn't matter if you have a billion dollars or not enough to pay the bills. It doesn't matter if you have kids, or if you are just a kid yourself. It doesn't matter if you've got a new job or are planning a dream vacation. No rational decision to strike is made based on who you are or what your situation, and we don't get to pick who it hits or why. We don't get to pick who responds to treatment and who doesn't, who becomes well and who loses their life. Cancer doesn't play a fair game and there are few rules. For me, since about 10 years ago, there hasn't been a day that has passed when I have thought about cancer, yet I know that isn't the case for everyone. However, it is news like this about someone who has had great influence in many, many lives reminds us of this, and just how far we still have to go to combat cancer in its many forms.

One of the most repeated phrases I've heard since the news was announced is that Steve Jobs "changed the world." And he did for millions of people. His ideas altered the way we interact with each other, the way many students are now taught in school, the way we listen to music, the way information is shared and stored, the way we play games, the way we shop, the way we find our way from one place to another. There's an app for about everything. And while not everyone has the far-reaching effect on others like Jobs did, I can't help but think that every single person has changed the world. Just being born changes the world for someone else. We make someone a parent or a sister or brother or aunt or uncle or grandparent. We build friendships. We work. We teach. We are neighbors. We play. We see and know others. Even the negative changes, things that are not always be for the better, are change nonetheless. It's all too simple to go on about our day without realizing the effect we can have on others. Each in our own way, we are changing the world, a little by just living and a lot more by how we live.

Steve Jobs encouraged people to envision change. To know your dream and follow your heart. There are too many people I love that have been affected by cancer and that has profoundly and deeply changed my world. I don't have a piece of technology to remind me of that, but I do have pictures and memories and an altered outlook on how to live well and to recognize what is important in my life. I want to connect the dots and be proud of the picture I see.

I wish peace, strength, and healing to the family and friends of Steve Jobs.
Be good. Be strong.