Twitter. It can infuriate or inform. Occasionally you read something that makes you stop in your tracks. There’s an acuity to the moment, yet you stare at the words and try to make sense.
A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Twitter and saw that someone had retweeted and added sympathies regarding the loss of someone I knew in England. Jackie. This was one of those moments that stopped me in my tracks.
I worked with Jackie for quite a while in England. She was incredibly smart and able, a great advocate for change in health care, a vibrant person committed to rights and equity. I was reading Twitter posts about what the New York Times had to say about President Trump and Manchester United and whether the manager was happy about the latest loss (which made no sense to me, because what manager is ever actually happy about a loss) and wedged right there in the middle of those two items was Jackie. Gone.
In my shock I turned to Google to find more information. I discovered a CaringBridge page and learned Jackie had been on a journey to find alternative treatments but had succumbed to her illness.
Twitter is all about getting information in the moment. If you’re not there at that moment, you miss it. If you later try to catch up on everything you missed—well, it would consume all your time and what good would you really have done?
Steve Jobs, a founder of Apple, said that one of our most precious commodities is time. I think he’s right. In the moments of our days we make dozens or hundreds of decisions, some of them simple and some complicated. And some compromises. Do we realize the compromises that matter, the ones we should hold out and not make?
I truly believe Jackie never compromised as a leader. She understood that a leader should spend precious time trying to do good but not compromise. If you’re given the chance to do good and have the authority to do good, then do good.
Every day I compromise is not a good day. I might have to for a reason, even a good reason, but it doesn’t feel like a very good day in the end.
In honor of Jackie, I have to make some commitments, not just to scroll through Twitter less, but to use what privilege and authority I might have to create truly good days when I have done good not for my own sake but for so many others. That’s what Jackie did.
Peace to her memory.