“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

Maya Angelou

I have a friend named Peter.

Peter is an absolute delight—a man who pours equally from cups of wisdom, kindness, and silliness. He lives on the other side of the planet, so I don’t see him often. In fact, the odds we would even meet were pretty low. But meet we did—and a monumental chat unfolded on the day we first crossed paths.

The setting was a honky-tonk in Nashville. The laughter in the air, the unfamiliarity of each other’s voices, and yet—we dove headfirst into life’s deepest pool: its meaning. Imagine two astronauts, meeting for the first time, and straightaway they launch into a conversation about the origins of the universe. That was us, a pair of audacious life-explorers, tossing about the big questions on day one.

We didn’t have a philosophy degree, no Aristotle or Kant tucked under our arms. Instead, we had the audacity of curiosity. Out of this conversation emerged a philosophy, as clear as a bell and as bright as a lighthouse, sliced down to its core essence.

Love your family. Your kin, your clan, the tree from which you sprung. Think of them as the roots and branches of your life, feeding you, sheltering you, holding you to the ground—yet pushing you towards the sky. As intrinsic and crucial as the heart beating within your chest.

Next, love your friends. Imagine them as your treasure chests of shared memories and whispered secrets. A constellation of stars, lighting up your path, as you navigate through life’s swirling seas. If family is the tree, friends are the breeze that brings life to its leaves.

Finally, do what’s in front of you. Picture this as the road that unfolds as you step forward. It’s about giving your all to the task at hand, sinking your teeth into life’s juicy apple with unreserved gusto. It’s about showing up, being present—like the unblinking eye of a hawk focused on its next meal.

Just like that, we’d distilled the complexities of life into a three-step dance. A waltz to the rhythm of love and action. Two rookies, thumbing their noses at pretentious philosophies, daring to etch their own, on the very first roll of the dice.

Now that’s wild, that’s crazy. And that’s, quite frankly, life.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.