Amos Kearns died this week. He was rich in strength where I am poor.
Amos was a contemporary of my father. They met in college–both went to boarding school–both sent their sons to boarding school. That is where I began my friendship with Amos Kearns. I went to Virginia Episcopal School with his three sons: Regan, Marshall, and Arthur. Over the years I grew to know and love the Kearns family. They were different from my family…they were loud.
This volume and exuberance were defining traits. I reveled in the Kearns’ expansive collection of gear, cacophony of voices, and wild adventures. Later in life, in a time of “What am I going to do?” Amos and I became pals. I cannot say what he got from our friendship. But, he definitely brought out the best in me. The great influences in our lives augment our existing strengths with insights and encouragement for growth and expansion. The lesson is to understand that life begins when we leave our comfort zone.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” What Amos gave me was the courage to leave the harbor, to speak louder, to move faster, and to take a risk freely. He shared with me a model with limited decision trees and expanded velocity. He was rich with these.
I have a picture of us at his son’s wedding. We are laughing. It captures the best in me. During my life when more volume and velocity are required, the picture is an inspiration for me…as was my friendship with Amos. He brought out the best in me.
Who brings out the best in you?