Back in October, I was having a bit of a life crisis. No…Not a bit of one…A huge one. And Thomas Bastis was there for me. So, I wrote this post in a place where I was working out some angst. I think it should be shared.
You Should Have One Just Like Him (October 5, 2009)
by Dave Wilber
This is Thomas. Not Tom. Not Tommy…although I call him that because it’s like some kind of wannabe mobster thing, you know..Hey, Tommy! But as always, I digress.
I ported one of my deep personal Blogs over to Facebook and Thomas, like many others, saw them and realized something was very wrong. He was the first call and he asked…no..he demanded that I call back and that we get in touch. I avoided him. I didn’t feel like having a hands free cell phone conversation with him over my pathetic life.
You know…some phone things just shouldn’t happen. Bluetooth or no.
Let me tell you about Thomas. I was in my office one day and a young college student called me. Found me on the Web or something and had all kinds of questions. Later, I ran into him at the location of his college internship. After that, someone had hired him at a place I was doing some consulting. Then another more high profile job and then another. Thomas, you see, is a rockstar. He doesn’t want to hear that, but in my world and in my book, he’s an ace, first call, honest to Freebird, rockstar. I’ve been blessed to watch him grow and now and then he’s used the word Mentor for me and it makes me as uncomfortable as a banana at a monkey movie night. And the truth is, if he and I were applying for a job, he would win. He can call me any damn thing he wants, but that’s the truth.
I’ve been blessed to watch him grow and now and then he’s used the word Mentor for me and it makes me as uncomfortable as a banana at a monkey movie night…
Besides all this professional stuff, Thomas is a world class adventure racer. Just think EcoPrimalQuest. Just think 10 days of not sleeping and doing the rugged stuff of hiking, biking, ropes, kayaking and not getting lost. That’s fun for Thomas. He’s that kind of guy and I’ve watched him grow into the athlete extreme.
Today Thomas and I met at his work, just outside San Francisco. He greeted me with a bold handshake and then a warm and deliberate hug. I have to say that I didn’t want to come and meet with Thomas. He’s overwhelming. And I was all prepared for a big lecture into what I should be doing. It’s like me hitting golf balls next to Jack Nicklaus. I’m out of my league when it comes to doing the right thing. He’s the Elvis of that.
Instead I was met with a man who showed me his kind and compassionate heart. Yet he was tough and in that toughness, there was love too. He loved on me with his words and with his heart, I saw that it wasn’t about getting me to do things. It was about helping me do the right thing. To that end, it was impossible for me to hold back the tears and I sat and tried as hard as I could.
Thomas told me, in a way that was beautiful, that I matter. I matter to him as a friend and as a human. Not just as a consultant and mentor, but as a human. To me, those words , coming from a bit of Vulcan were better than any solo Jimmy Page could play. And he was tough…asking me why I’ve been kidding myself. Why have I not asked for help. Why do I sacrifice the way I do. Why all the miles. And me with not an answer one. Why, because had I talked I’m sure I would have cried out loud….and I don’t cry in public, in front of men. Don’t.
Thomas told me, in a way that was beautiful, that I matter. I matter to him as a friend and as a human…
But when I got in my car and drove away, I turned the corner, parked and burst into tears. Sobbing and gasping for air. What a tough conversation. And later feeling a bit of a silly drama queen, I realized that it wasn’t tough at all. It was perfect. Especially when he demanded that he be an active participant in my change.
So in the course of a few days, a few friends have told me how much they love me. How much they need me and how much they want me to be around. And I’m having a tough time taking this all in.
Today, I was numb and today, like a lot of days when I hurt all over…I had trouble eating. See, food for me is a drug. And so when I hurt, I wants lots of drugs. Starting with an apple has often lead to finishing with a large pizza and so, I just don’t know how to pet the burning dog. I finally forced some food in. Finally. And I didn’t seek the solace of a binge.
Thank you Thomas. Blessing isn’t a good enough word. I Love You, Brother! And I don’t want to let myself down and take you along with me. I’m glad I was listening today. Tin Foil and All.
I’m glad to say that because of Thomas and Scott Bower and a few other dear friends, I’m on my way to being Less Wilber. Which will in turn make me More in a much better way.