When I first started doing the thing that I do these days, I met one of my seniors for the first time. Then at some point, he stopped coming for the annual thing of ours, till last year. But even then, we didn’t say much; we shook hands – can you remember that, shaking hands? And we went our separate ways. But he always had interesting problems for me to solve – problems that almost always made me think a little bit harder than I ordinarily would. He is my senior, so he always has interesting problems, but the ones he gave me at that place had that extra bit of something that made them truly interesting.
I didn’t think about how smokeless sobriety would affect how my relationships would change. I definitely didn’t think that the decisions I made post-smokeless sobriety would affect my relationships the way they have. I sent out a bunch of emails in the aftermath of The Decision; one of the few people who responded is my senior. To call him generous is to diminish how vital “generous” is to the things we do for the people we do them for. He has offered wisdom and guidance – and opportunity – in ways only those who give without malice are capable of giving.
Because of my friend’s generosity, every now and then, I’m able to pay it forward. There was a moment last year when I was unsure about where I stood in the grand scheme of things, whether I had the capacity to hold steady for a minute, an hour or a day. But whenever I talk to my friend, and he gives me the chance to do something truly revolutionary, I’m reminded that Almighty God does not put people in your life without a damn good reason. So when I open myself for the benefit of others, I say a little prayer that my friend, senior, mentor, benefactor and all-round professional saint, will see the right side of tomorrow with grace, wit and joy.