As many stories as I’ve written in more than four years as a reporter – and as much as I love my job – that isn’t what I want my legacy to be. Eventually, people will forget who won a certain runoff election or why a certain fundraiser was held.
What won’t ever leave them is the way I treat the ones around me, friends and strangers alike. I believe we’re all in this life together, and I’ve made it my mission to always be a friend and treat others with uncommon decency.
I’m human, so I’ve unfortunately failed to meet that objective on too many occasions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still strive to be that person each day or quit believing in its purity.
And after witnessing the impact of a famed attorney, whose indelible mark will be not how many court cases he won but how many hearts he gained and kept during his time on earth, I believe in that mission now more than ever.
I stood at the back of a sanctuary that overflowed out into the lobby at Congregation Beth El for a celebration of Steven “Rocket” Rosen’s life last Friday morning, truly taken aback at just how many lives he had touched. It wasn’t just family and an inner circle of friends crowding in – it was everyone.
Sure there were some “VIPs” present, like former Houston Astros coach Deacon Jones and current Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton. I also spoke personally before the service to a county judge who’d had Mr. Rosen in his courtroom on several occasions, where his explosive personality endeared him.
But it was also community members, such as two former members of the Missouri City Magic softball team, who Rosen coached when he wasn’t in the courtroom. It was a fraternity brother from his college days at the University of Florida who became his friend for life.
With each recounted story of Mr. Rosen’s personality, generosity and giving of himself for the betterment of others, I struggled to fight back some sadness myself. From what I heard on Friday, I’m sorry that I didn’t have the chance to know Mr. Rosen personally. By all accounts, he embodied the notion of living his life with renewed vigor each day.
I think we can all take a lesson from that.
All of our money, fame and notoriety will fall by the wayside when we’re no longer with our friends, family and other loved ones. But our lasting impact, that indelible mark that will stay with them forever, will be with how we made them feel.
We live in a world of discord and divisiveness hitting us from every conceivable direction. Whether it’s from those in power or our own shortcomings, we witness it each day by simply getting out of bed, opening our front door or flipping on the television.
So why not buck that trend? Making the world around you a better place doesn’t need to be some grand gesture. It can be a simple act of kindness, such as smiling and saying hello to that person you see in the elevator every day, or holding the door open for someone.
These may seem like easy tasks, but you’d be shocked at how many times I’ve heard people express pride in that random stranger who took just a few seconds out of their day to help them with a seemingly menial task.
All the stories I heard about Mr. Rosen speak to him living to make the lives of those around him better in every way, simply by being a friend. He was, by all accounts, an uncommon man.
These days, simple gestures are viewed as above and beyond or out of the ordinary in my experience. We’ve sunk to a place where opening a door or giving up your seat to someone who needs it more is something to be lauded as opposed to customary.
Acts of generosity like those described by Mr. Rosen’s loved ones are becoming uncommon in a world I see overrun by political and social correctness. And I think that’s a shame, because kindness can make this world better just by existing, plus I believe many have and are genuinely trying to be that change.
Maybe I’m too idealistic, but I long to live in a world where kindness is more prevalent than strife.
So let’s start a kindness revolution.