Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to participate in the retirement ceremony of a friend, mentor and shipmate by the name of Commander Scott Fields. Scott is a wonderful man who is generous, sincere and caring among many other positive attributes (though yesterday he demonstrated his eloquence, humility and love). There is much I will remember about my time sharing an office with Scott, but the one thing I will never forget is the enthusiasm with which he continues to embrace life. Each morning he would ask those he encountered in the passageway on the way to his cubicle, "Do you know what I did this morning?" to which the trained response is "You woke up and chose to be happy." This was and continues to be one of Scott's trademarks. If you were to ask anyone who has had the privilege of serving with Scott throughout his 31 year naval career, they would know of this daily dialogue.
At an early age, Scott realized happiness is a choice, as are so many other things in life. Some of us have to work harder than others to convince ourselves to choose to be happy with the cards we have been dealt, while others don't have to give it any thought, it's a reflexive action. Like many, I know more than a few people who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses of late. If there ever is a test of one's ability to make happiness their choice, receiving such news is that test. Recently, a child hood friend, Erik Lemoine, passed away from Malignant Metastatic Melanoma. He kept a journal of his battle (which is still maintained by his phenomenal wife) and in doing so helped so many to see the brighter side of life and embrace the moment. Prior to his death, he wrote his final message (shared below) which was used to notify those who loved him of his passing. Truly a remarkable man...
"Let us remember
and the loving.
Let us remember the good times -- always.
- Erik Jon Lemoine (13 JAN 1973 - 01 NOV 2009)
As we go through life, let us "choose to be happy" and let us smile, laugh, talk, share, care and love so we can follow Erik's lead and remember the good times as we near the end of our journey or witness a loved one do the same. Thank you both Scott and Erik for helping to keep everything in perspective.