SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 238: “Two Choices”

In life we have two choices:
“What is the most important thing to have?”
“What is the most important thing to lose?”

Questions that Ronnie leans on in navigating his life decisions.

“I came to the United States in 1978 when the revolution started in Iran and as I was accepted to college,” Ronnie introduces himself as we sit for a mall chat.

An entrepreneur, Ronnie is the owner of two Subway sandwich stores. But in the telling of his history it is quickly apparent that the pursuit of wealth is the farthest from his priorities.

“I have two franchises…” Ronnie tells us “… this one barely breaks even and it is a good thing that I have the other, but together they bring in enough for my families needs.

Money is not the most important thing.”

Leads me to inquire, “What is the most important thing, Ronnie?”

Ronnie responds in narrative form, “I remember when I was young, my neighbors were part of my family, and my family was very close.

I prioritize my job as second to my family.”

A life commitment that is telegraphed in Ronnie’s account of the choices that led him into the business of making lunch, “Years ago I sold my business and started something different that would allow me time with my kids.

My family is the most important thing in my life, and my wife and I do all that we can to spend time with our children.

Our basic priority is to always have dinner together. It is our time to talk, and from it, we are very close.”

We have spoken of family quite a bit throughout 365. And the definition of family has been explored in many ways. We’ve covered the spectrum, from families of birth right to families of association. In all is the evidence of a fundamental shared human trait: To be part of something more than the materialistic self. To be accepted, loved  and nurtured in one-way or another.

A premise that Ronnie subscribe to in his observations of the world, “People are more behaved now, more courteous and careful not to hurt another person.

I see how parents are trying to take care of their kids, and a society that more than ever does not let the kids be abused.

We are heading in a good direction, but the news tries to get attention on the negative.

It’s like, if a dog bites a man… that is no big deal… but if a man bites a dog, people pay attention.

Television is always trying to find the man who bites the dog in trying to shock us.”

“Where are we heading?” I ask Ronnie.

“It’s a revolution of information and we are all becoming one. The economy is not as bad as it was thirty years ago,” Ronnie begins as he projects ahead fifty years.

“In fifty years, life will probably be similar. Over the past fifty years we have had the best of everything. Technology will continue to grow, but we have already discovered so many of the life changing basics.

The biggest thing I see is that the people will be better.

The law is getting stronger and stronger, and it is no longer and eye for an eye.”

Ronnie counsels us, “The simple life is better”, as he departs his closing wisdom, “Never put your head on the pillow with worries.”

Ronnie introduced us to two choices:
“What is the most important thing to have?”
“What is the most important thing to lose?”

Simple questions with not so simple answers, and in giving them to us, Ronnie has shaken our minds a little. He calls us to take a quite moment of thought this evening. To reflect as we rest our heads down to sleep, “Do I have any worries…? And, if so… how can I lose them?”