My good friend Colleen’s father died this week – Retired General Richard X. Larkin. I never met him, but know a lot about his character in the daughter he raised – a warrior in the truest sense – knowing how to get done what needs to get done, despite the odds, with a passion for service and doing what’s right, never counting the cost – these days in service of military families and wounded warriors.
In reading over his obituary I got to thinking about service and what it means to serve. Major General Larkin was a remarkable man – he served as a commander during the Korean and Viet Nam wars, obtained advanced degrees in Russian and Industrial Engineering, and went on to serve as Defense Attaché to the US Ambassador to Russia and was also Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He retired from active duty after more than 25 years of service and went on to continue working in national security at the highest levels. And in the meantime, along with his wife of 50+ years raised a family dedicated in their own ways to service.
Life is 20/20 in hindsight – there’s a logic to how we got to where we are. Did MG Larkin aspire to be a three star general at a young age? I don’t know. What I do know is that he consistently and persistently put himself in a position where he could grow and learn and step up to ever greater challenges.
When someone in our circle dies, it’s pause for reflection – about how we’re living, what we’re building, how we’re loving and what we’ll leave behind.
My challenge to you this week is to take 15 minutes and make a list of what you care deeply about, and then think about how you’re spending your time and living your life. Is there anything you want to be doing differently to become more alive, to be of greater service? Then the time is now: take action, for in the words of John Donne “ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”