Thursday, May 27, 2010


“Could someone please turn off the world, I’m trying to think. Thank you.”

It was the unmistakable voice of Jimmy, a rather intense eight-year-old who was never shy about expressing his thoughts or feelings. And he was the most unusually passionate kid I had ever met. When he played, he did so with remarkable enthusiasm, as if it were the last game he would ever play. When he was reading, he seemed to get absolutely lost in the pages of whatever world was waiting to invite him in between the book’s covers. And sometimes it would take minutes for him to re-acquaint himself with the real world when he was done reading. It was as if each experience was for him, something to commit to and savor.

Except for nature shows, he eschewed television, making him even more unusual, but in a very admirable way. And he loved storytelling, whether it was his to tell or someone else’s to listen to.

To say his imagination was fertile was like saying the sky was full of stars. His drawings were as full as his writing, but never cluttered or unwieldy. He seemed to exhibit an uncanny awareness of balance and boldness.

I always looked forward to telling stories in his classroom, because of his simple yet deep appreciation for my humble offerings. It was as though he could really see the pictures I painted with my words. Even the pictures of words unspoken, but part of the story nonetheless.

So I was deeply saddened when I heard that he had died, the innocent victim of a gang shooting.

Deeply saddened.

And I wondered what the world would miss because of his absence. But I realized it didn’t matter, because to Jimmy, it wouldn’t have mattered.

He was not concerned with his legacy or making his mark or uncovering the ultimate purpose of life. Jimmy was concerned with living in whatever moment he was in. If he got angry, he was angry in that moment and when it had passed, for Jimmy it was over. If he laughed or cried, it was felt intensely and shared loudly, but again, when it had passed, it was over. He played, and learned, and touched lives always in the moment. And then it was over. He moved on, leaving only his footprints for someone else to see and remember.

So here’s to you, Jimmy. Someone turned off your world here, leaving you to explore and think in the next. And knowing you as I did, I’m confident you’ll explore your new world with remarkable enthusiasm and live in each and every moment of it.


  1. Jimmy sounds like a nice kid. Kudos to the kid.

  2. amazing post. i deeply appreciate the description of the kid and your sentiments