Sunday, August 3, 2008

What is Success?

Jim Hutchinson's son Richard read the following at the memorial service for Jim yesterday:

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jim was clearly a success in his life. If we all gave just 10% of the effort that Jim gave to improving the world, the world would be in much better shape. Those of us that knew Jim well are very lucky people.

This week, I intend to apply to fill one of the many roles that Jim has held recently. A number of people at the memorial service yesterday encouraged me to apply for Jim's now-vacant seat on our town Select Board. The chair of that board is the individual who beat me badly in the election in March, and I've disagreed with him on some issues at meetings since the election. So, I might not have a good chance of being accepted as a replacement for Jim, but I'm going to offer.

The Vermont 100 will manage to find a new race director. The local Democratic party will find a new candidate for the Vermont Legislature. Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports will find a new president of its Board of Directors. They probably won't be able to replace the many days of adaptive teaching that Jim performed. In these roles, people will be found to replace Jim, although every new person will have big shoes to fill.

The place where Jim can't be replaced, in any way, is within his circle of family and friends. The memorial service yesterday showed how many people Jim touched in his life and it was quite amazing.

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