I write this as Lee Thompson Young gifs have taken over my Tumblr dashboard. If you haven’t been in the social media loop, he died from an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound. Rest in Peace to Lee Thompson Young; he was twenty-nine.
I didn’t know him (though he and I went to the same college at about the same time). I only saw a few episodes of The Famous Jett Jackson and I only know of Rizzoli & Isles through gifs on Tumblr. But these are only small details in the fabric of time. In the end it’s about humanity, right? That maybe you’ve walked by someone who was on some kind of trajectory to this kind of moment. That maybe it was just that they were a face in passing on a screen as you change the channel. The distance matters (because knowing people one-on-one always matters), but it also doesn’t matter. There is an overwhelming sadness of recognizing that someone is no longer there, that you might have spent a little bit more time knowing, appreciating, acknowledging when they were there.
There’s a quote that is often incorrectly attributed to Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The real quote is this:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
This is about strangers. This is about friends. Take some time to say “Good morning” and “Hello.” Learn new names and faces. Turn strangers into friends. Spend more time with friends. Life is complicated and troubles are never easy. Yet, I can’t help but think that you can’t ever go wrong by being a beacon of light, a brightness in someone’s day. Or, especially, letting someone know that that’s who they are for you. It might not change anything, but it could also change everything.