Our lives are ruled by assumptions, which is necessary to get through the day. The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening – except perhaps in a polar circle but there your assumption would change anyway.
When I was in New York visiting my cousin in December 2000, I made choices based on my assumptions, choosing to visit Strawberry Fields and the Dakota Apartments instead of the World Trade Center, assuming I’d get a chance to visit the latter during a future visit.
Yesterday was a tragic reminder on how we shouldn’t rely too heavily on assumptions. As I was going through my Facebook news feed, a morning routine to check in on the news of the day, a couple of posts stopped me cold. A good friend of a friend was tagged in these posts, with messages like, “You’ll be missed” and “I will never forget you.”
Although I didn’t know him well, we’d hang out when he was in town visiting my friend and he was one of those people that lit up a room and he was so funny and kind. Sometimes months or years would pass until we saw him but when we did, it was like he never left town.
I always assumed that we’d see him again.
After reading through the different posts on his page to try to find out what happened, I saw this one: “Another that has chosen their own timing. I truly hope he finds some sense of peace on the other side.”
As I looked at his smiling Facebook profile photograph, I thought back to some of our past conversations – and remembered only fragments but couldn’t recall any strong indications of an inner struggle. But isn’t that usually the case? Those kind of feelings are easy to hide from those you only see for a few hours every couple of years.
But it is a reminder that we shouldn’t take things for granted, and a reminder that things aren’t always as they appear. Maybe all the smiling holiday photos on Facebook are truly happy or maybe it’s just one smiling snapshot between difficult moments. We don’t know for sure.
Rest in peace, Ben.