Sometimes you meet people who are just lovely. Who have a natural way about them that makes them stick out to you as a good person. Salt – of – the earth. Someone you’d like to be friends with.
I have met many, many people who are like this but it’s rare that their kindness and exuberance for life is so obvious that it literally stops you in your tracks. Gumby’s character was in your face lovely. Without meaning to and in the most unconventional ways, he was unavoidably noticeable.
If seeing him didn’t make you notice him, hearing him definitely did. He had the loudest, most spontaneous laugh in the world. Thankfully, he used it often.
He swore a lot, stomped around a bit, shouted occasionally and drank like a fish but he was so, so gentle.
Gumby knew who he was without a shadow of doubt and there was nothing that was ever going to change him. Even when he felt that being who he was, was not enough or that the things he did were unacceptable to a person, he’d be a bit sad about it but fully aware that he was who he was. If the person couldn’t deal with him then unfortunately the relationship just wasn’t going to work. And I don’t just mean this with regards to girlfriends!
He was never mean about it though. I don’t think a person ever felt rejected or hurt by the way Gumby was towards them(?). He was of course human, so potentially he did but I do know that he would never have intentionally said or done anything to hurt anyone.
He was kind to his core.
He loved nature and made a point to notice the littlest of things. He appreciated every single thing that nature had to offer.
He learnt about what he was passionate about and fully immersed himself in that topic whether it was gardening, photography, fixing diesel generators or being with any one of his amazing girlfriends. Once committed, he was in for the long haul.
He was hard-working, helpful and considerate.
He was honest with himself and with others.
He was loyal.
And he was always, always chilled. He went with the flow and just enjoyed the ride, making the best out of every situation he found himself in.
You may have noticed I used the word Tao in the heading of this post. Common dictionary translations of Tao include road, path, way and the word is generally used to indicate the unseen, underlying law of the universe from which all other principles and phenomena proceed.
I use the word Tao in the loosest sense to highlight the fact that Gumby had such a strong belief system in place that influenced everything he did in his short but full life.
For all of us who lost him and there are so many, it’s been difficult to process what happened and to make sense of it.
For myself, I avoid thinking about my brother as much as possible. I mean really thinking about him. About the way he was and the memories we shared. About the things I loved, admired and took for granted.
It’s so, so painful and much easier to skim the surface and stop short of the deep, painful memories – even though they’re happy thoughts if you know what I mean!
The more I do allow myself to think about Gumby though, the more I realise how much better the world would be if there were more people like him.
More people who knew who they were and what they believe in. More people who cared about the world and took responsibility for their little place in it.
Having my own little people now I am fully aware of the responsibility of having to try to grow them up right! But juggling life in general, with trying to get on with things I want/need to do, means that sometimes it feels like their needs and the important stuff like teaching them how to be a good, kind, patient person, gets pushed aside a bit as I struggle to teach by example!
We have all heard the saying that children learn by example plenty of times but do you ever actually stop to think about what you are doing and what you might be teaching the kids in your life?
I know I don’t do it nearly often enough. Sometimes though, being aware of something is the first step in changing it.
Take care & teach well!