Today many thousands of people will be in downtown Vancouver.
The Canucks play the Washington Capitals for the only time this season and then steps away the BC Lions battle Edmonton for first place in the Western Division of the CFL. (I hope you feel all caught up on the sports scene now)
So as the estimated crowd of 60,000+ rushes to both venues at the same time tonight many thousands will pause at the new Terry Fox plaza, see the new statues and many will even stop to take a picture.
There is a hidden gem however at the plaza that many will miss.
Along the wall, just across from the mega outdoor screen at BC Place, are two plaques. I had a chance to read them a few weeks ago and they really had an impact.
The first plaque provides some great background on Terry. You have to remember, this young man was only a month away from 23 years old when he died. Very young…but what an impact he had and continues to have.
What I loved about the first plaque was the story of Terry’s simple and focused goal. To raise one dollar for every Canadian…24 million at that time. Clear, concise and measurable. We can all learn from that whether it is business or personal. Loved it.
It was the second plaque however that really got me thinking and it hasn’t stopped.
The wording, written by the artist who designed the new statues, starts:
On a fundamental level, Terry’s life makes us ask, ‘What if?’….if he’d changed his mind and never run, he might have wondered ‘what if’ for the rest of his life. The world would have continued spinning, the weather would be the same. Everything would be the same, yet nothing would be the same. The way we view life and death and courage and strength wouldn’t be the same.
Sometimes we feel like we’re just one more person here on earth. Why does anything matter? Why do any of us bother going on? But the fact is we do go on and all of us matter, and maybe just maybe, if we follow Terry’s example of choosing the more difficult choice our lives take on meaning greater than we might ever have dared hope.
If we’ve learned one lesson again and again these past 19 months is that we only control our next decision…our next choice.
I believe that’s how Terry lived his life.
Deciding each day, one day at a time, to run.
And when he couldn’t run…to fight.
And when he could no longer fight…to inspire.
And now Terry’s dream is lived in millions.
It’s incredibly inspiring and it all comes down to a goal and choices…and as Mr. Coupland has so eloquently stated, ‘…and maybe just maybe, if we follow Terry’s example of choosing the more difficult choice our lives take on meaning greater than we might ever have dared hope.’
If you take in the games today or are downtown anytime, you’ll want to take 5 extra minutes to learn more about this BC legend and get inspired. It’s truly amazing.
Last week a few of Chris’ highschool buds called (ok, texted) and said they wanted to drop by.
The fact that we have the lacrosse gang and friends gang wanting to stay in touch with us is very cool.
I suggested a little hike and through a series of texts, the plan was approved.
So here we are on this little hike…about a one hour up and down walk in some beautiful forests near Ft. Langley, BC.
I’m not sure what other people on the trail were thinking as we made an unusual hiking squad. The lovely Ingrid leading the pack with 5 big young men at her side and some old guy trying to keep up and shoot videos at the same time.
Cooper, Dylan, Jesse and Alan all predicted that Tanner (Newport Vacuums) would arrive in dress shoes.
Nice jeans and dress shoes…perfect for hiking of course.
What followed was the obligatory, ‘you didn’t tell me this was a hike, you said a walk’…and of course the word ‘tell’ and ‘said’ are just another way to say ‘text’….cause no one really talks to each other any more right? 😉
So, we had a great walk/hike.
The sun streamed through the trees and it reminded us that Chris was with us too.
As we walked we actually didn’t text, but talked, and learned about the latest updates from the Gang.
It’s a privilege to stay connected.
For a little fun, I’ve put together a video of the event.
Ok, you gotta read this one, but you get the point.
I talked to a someone today who is leaving for a new job, a new adventure…following dreams, but very concrete dreams.
In our conversation it came out that I had said something about writing goals down a few years ago that caused some reflection.
That reflection became thoughts which became action in the form of goals being written down.
Those goals turned into visible reminders and invisible ones too that propelled further action in terms of a definable action plan which is really a series of small decisions that push one forward creating energy and momentum as you go.
We never know the impact our words and actions have on others. Ever.
I saw what happened when we wrote goals down as a family…yes, every New Year’s Eve. It was a tradition, but a very important one.
I saw how those goals helped each of us focus and achieve.
I used the question, ‘Are we doers or viewers?’ many times with the boys.
ie, Are we going to watch life go by or be actively engaged and help others along the way.
Seeing the impact Chris continues to have shows how much you can influence…even in a short 17 years.
We still see a stream of comments on his Facebook page and we know his words and actions are still inspiring many today, young and old….er.
I know it’s not quite New Year’s…but if you have goals that you’ve thought about in your head for a long time but that’s where they’ve stayed, I’d challenge you to write them down.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. I realize that is a hard concept for those south of the 49th parallel, but for those that embrace a more North American approach, you can have turkey in Oct and then again in late November if you plan your family gatherings properly!
We had a big dinner on the Friesen side of the family last night. Lots of laughs, ping-pong and of course Chris was never far from our thoughts.
During the latter part of dinner we Skyped Steve and Meggan in South Carolina. I know many families are doing this regularly, but I still love the concept of passing a wireless connected laptop (a Mac of course) around the table and for the next 45 minutes of the call it was if the miles were erased. They had a conversation with each of the 20 people present and it felt like the family was more complete!
With the passing of Steve Jobs this past week, I began to wonder last night if he would continue his amazing technology push on the other side of our human existence. Could we maybe Skype to heaven in the future? I know it sounds crazy, but I’m only half joking. If anyone can do it, it will be Steve Jobs…and when he does, I hope that Chris has signed up to be a beta tester.
I took a look at my Thanksgiving post from last year.
I still feel the same.
The pain of loss in year two does not subside. Maybe the edges dull for moments or parts of moments, but the reality of a void that will never fill is just that, a reality.
That being said we make choices everyday.
One is to be thankful for what we had as opposed to being bitter for what we don’t have.
Don’t misunderstand, it is impossible as parents (and those of you as friends, cousins, classmates, lacrosse buddies of Chris) to not think of what it would be like with Chris still here. If he had played at SFU or a Canadian University, this weekend would be the first reconnecting point after his Freshman term start. If he was in the US, we may be traveling with Max for a quick family reunion. Who knows.
What I’ve learned over time is that you must let your mind go there, but it can’t stay there. If you stay with the ‘what ifs’, it will paralyze you.
Instead we will concentrate on what we had and for those 17 most amazing years we are so thankful. We are also so amazingly grateful at seeing how Chris’ life continues to inspire people (including us!) to Be The Best. An amazing gift and legacy that will forever be a part of so many of us.
I’d write a new list, but I’m still pretty happy about last years, so here is that post.
Have a great time with your families and friends this weekend.
Just a quick note to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.
People have asked me what we’re doing, how we are ‘celebrating’ etc.
It would be easy to think that there is not much to be thankful for this year, but strangely enough I feel mostly the opposite.
Please don’t misunderstand. If we could, we would have Chris back in a millisecond. That is a given. That will not change. Our love for Chris only grows day by day and we miss him so terribly much.
That being said, we know he physically can no longer be with us so we must choose to continue our journey on earth with Chris with us in spirit…and that’s what we’re doing.
So with that as the consistent backdrop, do we have things to be thankful for?
Yes. Here’s 5 of them.
Family – My wife and son Max are amazing to me. I couldn’t be more proud. (extended family too!!)
Friends – Continue to be friends in the deepest sense of the word.
Work Colleagues – Quietly supportive by allowing work to be a place of alternate focus.
Sports – Love watching competition. Love competing.
Coffee – It’s those small things in life that can be so great…especially when you’re sharing.
And although not on an official list, I am so incredibly thankful for every event, photo, moment, laugh, discussion, drive, walk, ping-pong game or meal we had with Chris. So incredibly thankful.
Chris…know that we love you so very much and we LOVED every moment we had with you.
For that we are thankful, not just this weekend, but forever.