Eleven Lessons Learned
September 29th, 2011
11 years ago today, John died in the line of duty. Here are 11 things I’ve learned from him, his life, his death…and all the people I’ve shared the journey with since:
1. Have Courage
It takes courage to go into an unfamiliar building to search for an intruder in the dark.
It takes courage to die as the result of a preventable fall at an unsafe workplace.
It takes courage to give one’s life protecting a premise that didn’t need protecting.
It takes courage to fall in love…and be in love.
It takes courage to love.
It takes courage to create a new life without the one you love.
2. Face Your Fears
Your biggest fears likely hold the greatest potential for growth and change…and not just for you.
3. Stand Up For What You Believe In
If you don’t, who will?
4. There Is No Substitute for Hard Work
I watched John work towards his dream of becoming a police officer for eight years.
I watched him face rejection after rejection from police services across Canada.
I saw how each rejection only made him stronger.
I watched him further his education and actively work to better himself.
I watched how hard he worked at jobs he disliked.
I watched him graduate from police recruit class; a dream fulfilled.
Once he was on the job, I watched him work even harder to become the best officer he could.
Little did I know that all those years, I was also watching a preview of what it would take for me to achieve my dream of becoming a writer.
As Robert Frost said, the best way out is always through.
As Winston Churchill said, never give up.
As John told me hours before he fell, if I don’t achieve my dream…that will have been my choice.
Keep the faith.
6. Believe in Yourself
Believe in yourself, your purpose, your dreams and your abilities to make the world a better place…because if you don’t, nobody else will.
7. Say No
It’s a powerful word…the more you use it now, the less you’ll need to down the road.
8. Choose Wisely Who You Surround Yourself With
There are energy-givers and energy-takers…you choose who to spend your time with.
9. Have Integrity
Be true to yourself.
Let your actions reflect that which you stand for.
10. Be Strong
True strength is not about having power over another.
True strength is not about putting on a brave face in the midst of tragedy.
True strength means vulnerability.
True strength means compassion.
True strength means forgiveness.
True strength entails picking up the pieces of a shattered situation and putting them back together in the best way you know how.
True strength means knowing when to ask for help…and how to receive it.
It is better to give your life doing something you believe in…than to live your life doing something you don’t.
Maryanne Pope was married to John. She is an author, playwright and screenwriter living in Sidney, BC. Her next book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Why and How and When to Pursue Your Dreams, will be released in February 2012. Maryanne is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc. Please visit www.jpmf.ca or www.pinkgazelle.com for details.