“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” – I Corinthians 13:4-8
The Rotarian fraternity in Barbados, indeed that in the region and, I dare say, farther afield was in shock last week on hearing of the untimely death of Dalvin Darlington, a colleague seemingly in the prime of his contribution here on earth. He was called to higher service, which for us mortals is an irreversible process. We are saddened, we grieve but there is little else we can do about it, but celebrate the quality of the life of our departed friend and hopefully learn from it.
Dalvin’s sudden passing indeed should cause us to reflect on the quality of our own lives in the context of the ‘here today, gone today’ experience. We get caught up with the hustle and bustle of day to day activities. We are envious, we boast, we are unkind to others, we are self seeking, we get angry and we worry. We may even harbour evil thoughts and delight in evil doings. We revel in these apparent victories for short term satisfaction and gain. We are prisoners to negative thoughts and even though we know in our heart of hearts that there is a positive vision for ourselves, the forces of the day consume us and we put it off until tomorrow. What if tomorrow never comes?
Dalvin lived tomorrow, today. He was not found wanting but it is only now that he has been removed from us that we fully appreciate what he stood for. He was patient, he was kind, he did not boast, his pride was more focused on others than himself. He was not easily angered, he kept no record of wrong doing, he was a principled, unassuming, mild mannered man always seeking solace in the truth. He was generous, he was trusting, he was the epitome of love.
Ten years ago, when there was near tragedy in our family it was Dalvin who organized a Rotary inspired thanksgiving service. In the last six months when he was advised that he had to undergo a surgical procedure, he consulted with me because I had undergone a similar procedure eight years ago. We discussed his medical condition over this period and I last spoke to him two weeks before his operation. Repeating the reassuring words of the surgeon, I told him “You can expect to be perfectly normal”. This was not to be.
Dalvin’s attendance at Rotary was exemplary. He was a Rotarian par excellence, and he upheld the Rotary motto “Service above Self”. He diligently participated in weekly Rotary meetings, Club Fora (up to a week before his death, when his generosity showed no bounds). He was a regular participant at regional and international conferences over the last twenty years and was always willing to pull his full weight when it was Barbados’ turn to be the host country. He was ever present at fellowship and social gatherings and was known for his sartorial elegance even if it meant that such attention to detail caused him to be the last to arrive at a function.
In business, his application to his clients was meticulous and thorough. He sought perfection sometimes at the expense of delay. He shall be long remembered and many of us will treasure our association with him and learn from his life.
His funeral takes place tomorrow but I regret that due to a long standing international commitment, I will be unable to attend. My sympathy and that of my family is extended to his wife Wendy, their daughter Desiree and the extended Darlington family.
Now we must get on with the rest of our lives fortified by the reflection on Dalvin’s life. We need to set standards of excellence so that our children are exposed to good example. As we pursue the CBET Shepherding model, we need those high standards so that our flock, the entrepreneurs, will be well equipped for the challenges ahead in the business environment.
The Shepherding model encourages the entrepreneur to shape his business based on the vision of exponential growth. In order to get exponential growth we must focus beyond the local market and we must diversify our product or service lines to grapple with the opportunity afforded us by increasing access to global markets and the characteristics of global demand. We will only achieve sustained success in this global arena, if we can compete with the best in the world. We must be mindful of the need always to be in search of excellence.
Dalvin’s life can inspire us to achieve and we may also be strengthened by the words of Mahatma Gandhi “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always”.