I have never been a bar hopper. Oh, I have frequented bars many times in my adult years. However, spending night after night in a bar has never been something I have done.
Last week that changed when I spent three nights in a row in the same establishment while planning the memorial services for my coach who recently passed away. In doing so, I found peace in knowing that my friend was not as alone as I thought he was in the last year.
I found a place that people from all walks of life would go and find family that I never knew existed. I must say, it was a beautiful discovery.
These people don't go to the bar to simply drink. They go because it is the one place that they know that they can be with people who won't judge and will allow them to be the real person that they are.
Is there really anything more that people want in life?
Alcohol has been something that I have always feared. Growing up with a mother who is alcoholic and used it as a vehicle to deal with my father can do that to a child. However, I found that spending time with a diverse crowd in a bar doesn't have to center around drinking.
My coaching friend was a man that I have no problem saying that I loved. He had no family in our area and I often worried about him when he left work and headed home.
Make no mistake, he had his vices. In our own way, we all do. How else can we deal with the daily strife's without having some outlet?
For Bill, his outlet was leaving work and having a few drinks while hanging out with friends. I used to give him shit for spending so much time in a bar and tried to convince him to stop going in there so much.
However, after spending so much time in there last week, I am so grateful to the bar employees and its' patrons for the love they gave Bill. They really did care for him and grieved for his loss as much as I have over the last two weeks.
My friend might have lived in a trailer, had no car, and had no one waiting at home for him. But, he did have people who loved him, cared for him, and who looked out for him. Lots of people. More people that I could have ever imagined.
This was a real eye-opener for me. It showed me that it really doesn't matter what you have in life, what you do in life, or where you might want to go in life. What matters is the people you have in your life.
In its simplest terms, life is about the relationships you have built with people. If you can leave this world having touched and been touched by as many people that my friend Bill did, than you have had a successful life.
What more can you ask for?