Monday began like any other. After my morning ritual, I paused to briefly scan social media before getting back to work. What’s this?
Someone commented about Scott Dinsmore. I remembered him mentioning going off-line for a bit. Then began that bubble in time where the rest of the world continues in a muffled blur while you gather the facts in “surreal time.”
This felt all too familiar. Years ago I watched the news as rescue workers pulled the body of my on-wing (your assigned mentor until you solo in flight school) out of Corpus Christi Bay. Some time later someone called to tell us that my younger brother had been airlifted off a ski slope in the Poconos.
Each of these reminded me of how I felt watching the footage of jets slamming into the World Trade Center played over and over again. It just doesn’t seem real.
It’s now Thursday. The past few days have been a haze of doing what needed to be done. I’ve commented a few times, sharing some my thoughts and feelings. And only now do I feel a little more ready to add my voice to the conversation in the wake of Scott Dinsmore’s death.
What’s strangest to me is that I’ve never met Scott or Chelsea. Sure, we bantered a bit on Instagram or via email. We live in an age, of course, where we can connect in so many ways without ever being in the same place.
Yet, these token moments are opportunities to touch each other’s lives in ways that no one can ever predict. This butterfly effect reminds me of my favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life where the main character George Bailey gets a chance to see what life is like if he hadn’t been born.
At a pivotal moment the angel turns to George and points out how the nightmarish alternate world reflects the void left by his absence and all the ways that he didn’t get to touch the lives of others.
Some of my personal online mentors shared their thoughts as well – many of whom I had no idea that they were even connected to Scott in any way. And that’s what I see – a life that touched so many others in so many ways.
In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert writes,
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention.”
Scott often joked that after talking one-on-one with him, 8 out of 10 people quit their jobs. And he was proud of this.
People come into our lives for a time.. a season.. a reason.. often in shapes and sizes that we never imagined. Who could guess that a frat bro demigod flashing his brilliant Apollo smile was really a Yoda in disguise that forced you to look at your choices? Not me.
But this wasn’t just some guru or therapist, Scott lived this himself. He shined that same light on his own choices and stepped into his own truth.
What makes me saddest about Scott’s untimely death is how it leaves so many questions unanswered.
What was he thinking? No, not in the sense of “why did he try to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? didn’t he know it’s dangerous?” That’s something my parents would say. Scott went into things fully aware of the risks and embraced them.
What last thoughts did he have and what is left undone?
What could he have done if he were still alive?
So many questions but the biggest one is.. where do we go from here?
Years ago a friend of mine said that the reason why some souls leave this earth sooner than others is because their work is done.
Maybe so. It just sure doesn’t feel like it.
People tend to use words like “freak accident” for things like this. What’s made Scott’s passing even more gut wrenching is that it came so soon after the loss of someone else who touched so many lives, Dr. Wayne Dyer.
One of his favorite sayings is “there are no coincidences.” And, no, the irony of all this isn’t lost on me as I’m reading the chapter in his memoir, I Can See Clearly Now where Dr. Dyer talks about the effect that losing President Kennedy had on him and his own work.
“It was no longer just about my impending career as a teacher. I began to think in terms of how I could impact the consciousness of the entire planet. I saw myself from that day forward as a man with a voice of compassion for a higher good. I didn’t know how or even what my role might be, but I knew that one person with a conscience could make a difference and I was that person.”
Each moment is a chance, an opportunity to touch the lives of others – to live your legend. Scott knew this and taught us most by living his. Now he’s given us a chance to live our own.