Compile: (v) to produce by assembling information

Sobering.

It’s too bad we associate the word “sober” mainly with being free of intoxication from alcohol–because “sobering” is a great word.

To me, it describes those moments in my life when I am struck with the magnitude of the importance of the journey instead of allowing myself the audacity of complaining about the seating.

I had a friend–not really a close friend. Unfortunately, I think he viewed me as his best friend. I never had the heart to contradict him.

Not many people liked him–and that included me. Maybe I was just a better liar, or perhaps I believed there was something noble in feigning affection.

He was an aspiring something-or-other. I guess he fancied himself an artist.

I don’t know if you can actually be an artist until someone appreciates, enjoys or even purchases your art, but that’s a conversation for another time.

When my friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he picked up a cardboard box at the local grocery store to compile his writings, songs, thoughts, journals and work.

An avid cigarette smoker since he was sixteen years of age, he sat puffing away, faithfully putting this material into the container.

All of his accomplishments filled about half the box–with plenty of room to spare.

He handed it to me and said, “I want you to have all of this. Please do something with it.”

About two weeks later he died, leaving me his papers and cassette tapes, the distinct odor of cigarette smoke permeating the cardboard.

I sifted through it once.

I wondered what my responsibility was to what he had compiled. I felt guilty.

And then a realization came to my mind.

If he didn’t have time to do something with this material when he was alive, vibrant and caring, what significance does he think it should have now–for anyone else?

My thinking seemed cold and heartless. I rebuked myself.

Time passed.

I never did anything with his material. Honestly, I’m too busy working on my own compiling. Every once in a while I think I should take the box out and look at it again.

You see, the only problem is… I don’t know where it is.

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Published by Jonathan Cring