After apple picking
Like zillions of other people, I learned of Steve Jobs’ passing on a device that he invented, and I was surprised by the intense sadness that I felt for the loss of this man who had, to use his phrase, made such a dent in the universe.
I’ve so enjoyed reading some of the tributes other people have written in his honor, but this afternoon’s NPR broadcast of his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford was particularly poignant. There’s a lot of good stuff in there– a video is available on YouTube– but one line in particular really resonated:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking back.”
One of my secret hopes has always been that, when I’m all done here, I’ll be presented with a key to the treasure hunt that was my life. I’d like to see which signs I recognized, which opportunities I failed to take advantage of, and which tragedies weren’t so tragic after all, and I’d love to know how the Universe conspired to give me what I needed (even when it wasn’t at all what I wanted). Because although my how-it-all-came-to-be philosophy is, for the foreseeable future, under construction, I have to believe that learning and growing and improving– even when it’s hard and scary and doesn’t make any sense–is a big part of it, and the courage to build his life around the belief that those random dots aren’t so random after all is really inspiring.
I’d like to think that, wherever he is, Mr. Jobs has finally been able to take a clear look at his own incredible (and apple shaped, perhaps?) constellation of now-connected dots. I hope he’s proud of so many amazing seasons.
And I hope that each of us is blessed with an equally bountiful (if slightly less profitable :)) harvest.