Aspire to inspire

gil rubio

Gil Rubio plays lead guitar, sings and composes much of the music for his band Red Beans & Rice. (Photograph: Edie Ellis)

By Gil Rubio

Some time ago, a dear friend of mine posted that she had attended a
Celebration of Life for a friend of hers.
She said it was most remarkable in that each and every person of the
many who spoke, described him as  … “Kind”.

Somehow that thought touched me in a profound way …

How would I, or any of us, be remembered?
What one word would describe us?
What one word would describe what we had done in our Life,
or how we affected those around us, or the World around us?

Given that thought, how does it change the way you carry yourself?
Or does it?

Just a few weeks ago, I spoke of my lifelong friend at his Memorial Mass.

He was a Carpenter and a Musician. Growing up, we were both Altar Boys
in our Church, and we played in a few Bands together over the years.
Mark had a long Marriage and he and his Wife raised two very
respectful and thoughtful children. He loved his Family and his
Friends, and the Church was full of people of all different walks of
life to pay their respects. A testament to how many he had touched
somehow throughout his life.

As I spoke of my friend and brother, I thought of several one word
descriptions of him: Kind, Strong, Gentle, Talented, Funny, Faithful,
Loyal, Family, Brother, Friend, True …

Some of us are destined to do great things and have great accomplishments.
But that doesn’t describe the person we are.

We may solve the most pressing problem the World over,
but yet and still, what kind of person were we to achieve that?

Compassionate, Clever, Genius, Inspiring, Patient, Demanding, Driven …

Some of us see ourselves as Funny, yet in reality others see us as Sarcastic …
Condescending, Annoying, Obnoxious …

gil rubio poster

Gil Rubio and his band Red Beans & Rice played at the inaugural Monterey International Blues Festival on May 13, 2017. (Photograph: Tom G. O’Neal)

It is not how we see ourselves that matters.
It is what we project to the World around us through our Actions.
How we are perceived from the other side.

Some do wonderful and gracious things,
but only for the recognition that they will garner,
rather than for the right reason.

Doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do,
… Regardless of any notice being taken.

One would hope that we have done well in our lives, are grateful,
have a loving family and good friends, and left a good impression and
a lasting mark somehow.

We can’t all save the World or create the most beautiful Art.
We don’t all possess the same talents and can’t all do the same things.
Maybe we can never leave a physical and tangible mark in the World.

But we can all spread light from within and encourage each other.

We can Aspire to Inspire.

Maybe our Smile, our gift of Love, our willingness to help another
will be our greatest accomplishment.

If there is indeed a Judgment Day for us, I think that no matter what
our beliefs are,
it is more about what we do “with”, “to” and “for” our brothers and
sisters on the planet that we share,
that will ultimately be what we are judged by.

I would hope that means we treat each other with kindness and respect
while we tolerate each other’s point of view.

No matter what our accomplishments are and what we have achieved in life,
perhaps our greatest achievement is to be thought of, and remembered
as … Kind.


From the author: I will be turning 60 in September, and with each passing year, I am
more grateful for all of Life itself! Each day is precious and a blessing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to try and be a better person each day. I’m sure I fail miserably a lot, but I still try to start my day with a big bowl of Gratitude and No Expectations on the side.

I am grateful to still be Operations Manager at Ryan Ranch Printers in Monterey, California, where I teach 5th & 10th Grade Catechism, serve as an English lector and lead a bilingual choir at the church I grew up in. I am also the leader and principal songwriter of Red Beans & Rice, a blues-inspired, New Orleans-influenced band in its 24th year with 6 CD releases to its credit. I am proud to say we are currently working on our 7th release.

Editor’s note: “Kind” is a word that would aptly describe my cousin Gil, the youngest of three children born to my godmother Aunt Lupe (my mother’s oldest sister) and her late husband Salvador. Gil’s spiritual side and his gift of just the right words inspires me to aspire to be a better person.  

Tomorrow: Nike Bentley, Finding Abby





8 thoughts on “Aspire to inspire

  1. This is such a good think piece. Thank you, Gil. I had the rare opportunity to kind of live through my funeral a handful of years ago after a big accident. And from that, I can only say that people in my life are so kind! I had no idea the small ways in which I impacted them. I’m grateful for the experience, and it’s made me even more committed to leaving things — and people — better than I find them.

  2. Thank you, Gil. Your words are a beautiful reminder. We must all strive to be kind… Kindness and compassion inspires others to behave in the same way. And, although not the most important factor, it is true that the way we are remembered by our family and friends is important.

  3. Thank You Gil. These are the words from VOA that I will save from VOA and post on my fridge so that I see them everyday.

  4. You can go in all sorts of directions on a piece that is essentially about death, none of which are necessarily or inherently better or more true than the rest. I appreciate your uplifting perspective, Gil, and how you inspire all of us to be the best that we can be, every day.

  5. If we are not kind, then who are we? It is easier to be kind than any other way. I try to keep in my mind when encountering others who may appear grumpy that I don’t know what is going on in their life that day or week. There’s this thing called life and it’s beautiful and ugly and sad and uplifting and demoralizing and a zillion other things to a zillion people every day. How do we want to be remembered? How do we want ourselves to be remembered? It helped me immensely as a child to hear my father tell me many times, “Each day you get up and look in the mirror. Will you like who you see?” Powerful words to hear. I am kind.

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Gil. Being in my 60’s leaves me grateful for many things, mostly for more time, if I’m given it, to prove my gratitude. I hope you will be granted the same.

  7. My friends have often said I have a gift of saying hard things with kindness. I tell them anger is no excuse to not be kind. Your friend sounds like he was a great blessing to you and you have learned as much about life in his passing as you did from being his friend.

  8. Being the best we can be every day is a pretty high bar, but if we fail, there is always tomorrow to start over, until the one day where there isn’t a tomorrow. Then people may give you the ultimate compliment ‘he was kind’.
    It’s 5:30 a.m. The day will soon start, a new opportunity to get it right

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