A Simple Lesson

A co-worker's untimely passing forces us to gain some perspective and count our blessings

It's easy to get caught up in our daily dramas and believe that the things we're stressing over are vitally important. Between professional challenges, economic hard times and personal issues, we all have our fair share of things to worry about. But things were thrown into perspective for me recently when a member of the Rental Product News team passed away unexpectedly at the age of 50.

By title, Phil Merrick was our national sales director, but by all other accounts he was a family man, an outdoorsman, a faithful friend and a great co-worker. Having worked within the construction and rental industries for the better part of the past 20 years, he was well known by so many. If you knew Phil, then you're aware of how much he valued the simple things - watching his sons play football, enjoying the woods on a crisp autumn day of hunting, and the pleasure that comes from working hard and playing harder. His loss reminds us of the importance of living a positive life and enjoying the things we have without worrying about the things we don't have.

Perhaps the most enduring message I take from Phil's passing is the significance of living an "ordinary life." By ordinary, I don't mean to minimize Phil's accomplishments in the least, but only to illustrate that, like many of us, Phil never won a lot of awards, he wasn't famous, he wasn't wealthy. But he had all the riches a man could hope for. He was blessed with a loving wife, healthy children whom he adored, hobbies that inspired him and work he found gratifying. What more could anyone ask for?

In the midst of our personal dramas, it's common to lose sight of how fortunate we really are; to hunger for more when our plate is actually full. As profoundly sad as it is to lose a friend and co-worker who was so young and who died so unexpectedly, it would be made even more tragic if we couldn't take something positive from it; learn some lesson from the life that was lost. For me, that lesson is about valueing the simple things and feeling gratitude for the many blessings we take for granted everyday.

In these difficult economic times, as you and your families are facing very real challenges that threaten your livelihood, there's no better time to get some perspective and count your blessings. It can be easy to forget at times, but when it comes down to it, there are no greater riches than health, family, hard work and hearty play. May we all keep this lesson close to our hearts in good times and bad.

Rest in peace, Phil. You are missed.