He smiled, “Well, I have my list of things I need to do. The book is one, marrying my wife in a church is another, and…”
As he shared his list, I remembered the dream I had two years ago, about being at my last birthday party, knowing that I had less than one year left. I woke up from that dream so clear about what I would say and do if I only had a year…but 30 days…?
When he finished, I made a bold request, “Ruben, would you be willing to be the keynote speaker at my next Dare to Dream Celebration in March? I have been given a message for the people who will attend, and this…” My voice caught in my throat. “Ruben, will you help me share this message?”
Without any hesitation, he said, “Yes.” And then after a pause, “Maybe we should record it, just in case.”
Five days later, I sat across from him in his beautiful office. We discussed the questions I wanted to ask him during the interview, and I thanked him again for making time for this.
The video crew arrived and said they would be ready in ten minutes. Ten minutes… maybe he can jam through some emails or make a phone call. I got up to leave the office, determined to not take up any more of his precious time than he had agreed to.
“Amanda, don’t leave. We have ten minutes. What do you want to know?”
“What? About the interview? I think we’re good.”
“No, Amanda. What do you want to know? About business? About life? How can I help you today?”
My heart quickened. What do you ask a dying man who is so beloved and so successful?
The conversation that followed – the message that he shared with me in those ten minutes – completely blew my mind and changed my life. It was so powerful that I asked him the question again during the interview, so that everyone at my event in March could hear it.
Twenty-seven days later, I got the phone call I had been dreading, “Ruben passed this morning.”
I immediately felt the empty space in the world. The world has lost a powerful messenger of transformation, but his legacy will live on…not only in the hearts of the people whose lives he impacted, but on paper…We did it. We got it all in time. The book is done. And we captured the deeper message on video…
I hung up the phone and had one final conversation with him:
“Ruben, thank you for impacting my life. Thank you for making me ask the questions, ‘What would I do if I only had 30 days? What would I say to the people I loved? What tasks would I move to the top of my list?’ Thank you for facilitating that clarity for me, for getting me re-focused on what really matters, and for deepening my determination to get my message on paper. I don’t have doctors giving me a timeframe, but how do I know how much time I have left? I promise to live my life this way…as if I only have 30 days. And Ruben, I promise to fill some of the empty space you left by honoring your life message – the one you shared with me that day in your office – and sharing it with everyone who crosses my path.”
And that is what I intend to do…