(Note to my brother: If you don't want to read the whole thing, skip to the bottom... There's some things I wrote for you)
"They" say that character is who you are when no one is looking. I say character is the person you are when you don't have to be. It is when you see something on the street as you are walking by and something inside you says, intervene, do something. It is when you pull over to help someone push their car out of the intersection (safely, of course). It is what you do when you don't have to that defines you.
These Defining Moments are full of our own character. In these moments, who we are is revealed not only to others, but to ourselves. We see where our loyalties lie. We see the things that are important. We see where our hearts are. It is in these moments that we see what really matters.
My brother recently had what I believe to be a defining moment. He wrote about it and posted it on his Facebook and I have posted it below. (Background info: my brother is 22, works for a moving company in Vista)
I had a Defining Moment like this back in the day, read about it here. I, too, felt the need to write about it in order to digest it. Defining Moments bring along with them deep introspection. There is an aching need to sit down and really think about what happened and what you did or would do or would have done or should have done. And then you think about what you want to do. You decide what this moment means and you move on from there."I woke up around 930 today. I had the day off and I didn't think anything extra about getting some extra sleep for once, but my body woke me up.
Around 10 minutes after waking up, I get called in to work to help some guys who are nearby.
It's what I call a MUL: A messed-up local:
Some ridiculous amount of armoires and china cabinets, estimated way too low, and they tried to send 2 guys on it to start, instead of a recommended 4 since we are trying to go upstairs with some of the armoires.
That's all fine and dandy, situation normal, all fouled up. But after we began loading our MUL, I step out from the house and hear what sounds like a mixture of a diesel truck and a waterfall. I look around and see a geyser about 100ft in the air, which I first mistook for a water main break.
And then I see a car on a front lawn.
It turns out, as I walk toward the center of the street, that a car had hit a dumpster, then a fire hydrant, the source of Vista's most recent geyser, and then came to a crashing halt in a landscaping wall on someone's front yard.
No one else around me says anything other than the usual "Oh that sucks" or "Dude, look at that" type comments, and the four of us just set down our loads in the truck and then take a gander off the side and down the street.
I see the car and people outside of the car, talking to each other and looking at the damage, and I assume these people to be the driver and passenger or homeowner.
I still want to make sure they are all right, since the water was also on our way out from the job site, and I had my natural curiosities spurring me forward to ask if everyone was okay.
Turns out, the people near the car are bystanders, and the driver is still in the car, with airbags deployed, seat belt unbuckled, etc. I see that the lady who was with the driver initially after the crash was unsettled, and very nervous, so I offer to take over, because she had been trying to keep his attention and to keep him from moving around, but was unable to do so at the time.
I ask if anyone had called 9-1-1 yet, introduce myself to the driver, who is very clearly suffering from either a stroke/seizure and a concussion. He had his eyes open, but was having difficulty breathing (Likely from getting punched in the chest by a steering column, or the airbags even), and he also had glazed eyes, a blown-out right pupil, coughing up fluid from his lungs, bleeding from his tongue and cheek, and very scared look on his face.
I talk to him and tell him I want him to keep his head upright, because he was trying to move around and exit the vehicle, and it was clearly a bad idea in his state.
Meanwhile, the property owner returns from calling EMS/Police and thinks it's an opportune time to tell me it's the second time a car has hit his wall in two years, and how much it's gonna suck to rebuild it again.
I tell him "I don't care about your property damage right now", and nothing else. I don't have time for someone who is clearly more interested in some concrete bricks than the man barely maintaining consciousness after a crash.
I turn back to the driver, who had become very active, but still disoriented, seeming to try to turn the car off, or open the glove box, or check the center console, and tell him again that I don't want him moving his head or worrying about anything in the car. I tell him the car is safe, I'm here with him, and that the paramedics are on their way.
I continue to try to talk to him, to keep him focused on me and my face, and I hold his hand while he rests his head back on the headrest. Meanwhile, I hear sirens in the distance, and tell him the paramedics are only seconds away and that I just want him to stay still until they get here.
Before EMS arrived, he looked at me again, and all I thought to say is "My name is Aaron", and then he said the his only words to me, "Thank you".
I don't know his name, I don't know if I'll ever see him again, I don't know if he even survived to the hospital, but his eyes and voice will be with me for a long time.
I needed to type this out, to get a handle on things and just meditate on it as a whole, because if yet another specific set of circumstances did not fall in to place, I would not have woken up naturally at 930. I would not have taken the call to work. I would not have been there at the scene, and I would not have been able to, hopefully, comfort the driver when he needed it."
To my brother:
If you read this (and I'm tagging you in this on Facebook, so you BETTER read it...), I want you to know that not only is this a Defining Moment, but this is a Divine Moment. You were SUPPOSED to be there. There is something bigger than us out there and He has a plan for you. A plan bigger than being stuck at a dead end job, a plan bigger than just making it through the day.
You are destined to thrive. You are destined to do big things. You are destined to touch the lives of those around you.
Don't ever settle for a lackluster life. Even in the bad times, there is amazing beauty and great good. There is happiness and joy even when there is little else. While there is always room to improve, don't ever forget that there is a life worth living right now. I used to think "when will my life really start?" And then I realized that life started the day I was born and I had been wasting it while waiting for it to "really" start.
I have loved you since the day you were born. I walked around the house calling you "my baby". You drive me absolutely insane but if anyone tried to hurt you, I would come at them like a screaming female banshee going through a hot flash during menopause. I will love you no matter what you do (though I may not always like you...). I want the absolute best for you and I want you to want the best for yourself. I will never lie to you or tell you what you want to hear. I'm not your babysitter, I'm your big sister (er, um, your older sister... You're quite tall...) and I don't care if you like me, so long as you know that I love you.
Well.... I didn't expect this to turn into an open letter to my brother. :)
My challenge to you (to anyone who is reading this), take note of your Defining Moments. Pay attention to the Divine Moments. Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, even if where you are sucks monkey balls. Take responsibility for your actions, accept the consequences, make changes if you need to. There is joy in life even when everything is falling apart. You just have to choose to look for it.