So, I was out with some friends tonight and I had a great time. But, at the same time it was also a realization for me that I'm still dealing with things from my uncle dying five months ago. It seems like certain things just bring things up that I hadn't realized.
Like having a drink with dinner or going to a club. If done responsibly, as I see it, there really isn't any problem. But, tonight was probably the first time I've been around people who were having a drink or anything like that in these last five months. And for me it was a challenge tonight. I watched my uncle's life be destroyed by alcohol . . . and ultimately that's what killed him. I hadn't realized how that affected me until tonight. The conversation around having a drink and the jokes about getting drunk . . . five months ago wouldn't have fazed me or bothered me at all; in fact, I probably would have laughed along with everyone, knowing that no one at the table had that intention to begin with. But tonight, just the jokes about it bothered me. This time I just couldn't see how people could joke about something like that. Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it doesn't destroy people's lives and families. Not that I want to dictate to my friends or anyone else how they should view alcohol. For me, it was really just a night of realizing and clarifying where I stand on it. And I know that my view will be somewhat different from that of many others. After tonight I know that I can't go there just because of what I've watched go on in my family.
I don't think we ever realize how much of an impact even some of our more distant family members can have on us until they're gone. I mean, until the last three years or so I didn't really know my uncle or see much of him. But, in the months since his death, I've begun to realize the impact that he had on my life. Unfortunately, most of it was in pointing things out to me that I didn't want to do in my life . . . but he had an impact nonetheless. But also a few times where I saw a completely different side of him . . . and how much hurt had and how incredibly much he cared about his family despite not seeing his own kids grow up.
It has all got me thinking about how many other people there are in my life who have influenced me in one way or another - either for the good or the bad. There's a lot of people . . . some who were in my life for just a short time and some who have been a part of my life for many years. There are a lot of people that I would like to let know about the influence they have had on my life and the ways they have helped me to grow. So often I don't say these things, but I should. Really . . . how do we know for sure that person will still be there later? In recent months I've really just been challenged not to let these things go unsaid . . . but to tell people that I appreciate them, to tell them how they've helped me grow, to encourage them in their own walks. I don't how long they will be around or I will be around . . . not that I think morbid thoughts all the time. But I've come face-to-face in a more personal way with my own and others mortality in the last few months, and it's made me want to be (and hopefully actually follow through) more intentional about telling people these sorts of things.
Well, I think that is the end of my rambling tonight.