Sometimes, out of death comes life. The story I want to tell you is sad and glorious all at the same time. First things first. Logan Turner was a 30 year old young man described as “happy go lucky”. He was out with friends on Augsut 4th, 2019 celebrating his recent birthday when gun fire opened and ended his life in the Oregon District of Dayton. His father Mike responded to this cruel reality with a request to all, to simply hug more. Wow. He’s a better man than I. I have a son going to school just a few miles from there and I am quite certain that Mike Turner is a better man than me.
Fast forward one month and I have been asked to present a talk at the Dayton Peace Museum on the topic of how do we create peace in our community. The talk was schedule long before the events of August 4th, Logans death. I knew of the shooting but nothing more than any of you. As I prepared my talk my mind kept going back to the shooting and how I had read about Mike’s request for hugs. What the hell am I going to say that would possibly impact community peace? I labored to honestly boil down my talking points. How can one person matter?
September 21st, I gave my talk to a joyous group of folks intent on global peace. I enjoyed the hour but then was quickly on my way to the University of Dayton where it was “Parents weekend” where both of my kids attend. It has occurred to me on more than one occasion how my son Auggie could have easily been standing where Logan was.
After enjoying the victory of U.D.’s ladies soccer team over George Mason University we were off to dinner in the fabled Oregon District. Wife and kids all together to celebrate Dad’s birthday (yes, Me) we stopped at the Trolley Stop, a cute and earthy little piece of Americana that we immediately came to love. Cool outdoor tables on a lovely September evening we shared time and immersed ourselves in the loving bath of family. There is no sweeter nectar than seeing your own wife and kids smile and laugh at each other. As we ended our meal and asked the waiter for the check he approached us, dare I say “trembling”. This delightful guy was at a loss for words and simply presented us with a small plaque and a card with Logan Turners name on it. The plaque read, “Believe there is good in the world”. The trebling waiter (wish I knew his name, he was awesome) went on to say that our meal had been paid for by an anonymous benefactor and the only request was that we “pay it forward”. There was a card with Logan Turner’s name and picture. (I’m losing it right now as I type this 24 hours later.) My wife and I looked at each other stunned, not so much by the generous gift but by the irony of it all. I had just mentioned Logan’s name and read about Mike his father, and spoke at the Peace Museum. How can this be serendipity? My son could have been where Logan stood. This was more than chance this was a call to action. Let’s not get freaky here but COME ON!! You can’t not FEEL this. (screw the grammar, you get it) After what seemed like forever we slowly left the restaurant, eyes searching the patio for the individual that “randomly” selected us. I was told by our waiter that the person that gifted us this treat had heard us state that it was my birthday and Logan had died while celebrating his. Makes you wonder. Why am I here when others are not? Why are YOU here, when other are not? Maybe we are left here to do some work? Maybe we could all stop bitching long enough to realize that maybe our lives are richer than we appreciate? Maybe we could all reach out and offer a little Peace to those around us and MAYBE if we did, MAYBE the world would be nicer, gentler and somehow better? Maybe Mike and Danita Turner have it right and if we all just hugged a little more and whined a little less the attitude and atmosphere might lighten ever so slightly. Just maybe Logan left us so that we might DO SOMETHING!! Maybe we owe Logan that. I know I owe Logan that. I know I can do better. And if you join me then that makes 2 of us and if we can truly change our attitudes and our actions and DECIDE to spread peace through loving kindness then holy moly what’s possible? Scary to think what the world might become if we stopped and simply treated everyone we meet as if they mattered . . . because they do.
It’s scary, down right scary, to look into the unknown and decide to take the next step. Like looking down a dark alley. We want to retreat and go back to old familiar habits. But if you and I are going to make any dent in the future, and if we are going to see any impact we have to be willing to walk in the dark and bring the light with us. We have to carry Logan’s light and our light and the love of our children with us. There is power in that. There is clarity and security in that light. I for one am not willing to let go. You don't have to walk with me but from this day forward I choose to impact others. I chose to hug, sexual harassment suits be damned (kidding, just making light) but I choose to hug, I choose to embrace every person I meet as the most important thing I am doing in that moment. I choose to live in the moment. Logan didn't know his last moment was upon him. I take a lesson from that. I choose to FEEL you and not just move AROUND you. I chose to be a force for good and a make a difference in the peace of my community. I have DECIDED that enough is enough and getting by is not enough . . . we need to thrive. To thrive people need people and we all need to contribute to an altruistic mindset.
Altruism: Engaged in acts of care in the service of others for unselfish reasons.
Sorry this is so long but in reality, it's a blink. Your life is passing RIGHT NOW. What do you stand for? What purpose do you represent? I refuse to waste ONE MORE DAY worried or fearful or "stressed" over stupid little things. Nothing, and I mean nothing matters more than right here and right NOW. Right now, YOU are the most important person in my life and guess what? in 2 minutes the next person I see will be the most important person in my life and I plan to carry this forward until the day the good Lord pulls my number. And on that day I will thank Logan for awakening me from a long and dreary coma.