My Moment of Inspiration: “Put it to Good Use”

In 2012, at the Amsterdam Medical Centre, a moment unfolded that would deeply touch my heart and forever change my perspective on life. As my wife and I sat in the quiet room waiting for treatment, I noticed a man with his back toward me, resting in a chair in front of my bed. He was surrounded by pillows, suggesting comfort at odds with the sterile hospital environment. As the afternoon waned, with the room now emptied of other patients, the man turned to us and introduced himself as Bart, initiating a conversation that would leave an indelible mark on my soul.

Bart’s gentle demeanor was striking. As we exchanged stories of our lives—he as a farmer turned businessman—there was an unmistakable sparkle in his eyes whenever he spoke of his former life on the farm. This passion contrasted sharply with his more measured reflections on his business endeavors.

The conversation naturally veered towards the reason for his hospital visit. Bart shared that he had previously battled and overcome a rare form of bone cancer, only to be diagnosed with an even more formidable variant that brought him unbearable pain. Naturally, I inquired into his treatment plan. Bart said there was no treatment left. He had a prognosis of just three weeks to live. We were shocked.

Our hearts weighed heavy, but Bart faced his reality with astonishing grace and acceptance. The time came for us to leave for home. I struggled to find the words to say goodbye, knowing these moments were some of his last. As we parted, I expressed my gratitude for the exceptional inspiration he had unwittingly provided. Bart’s response, a radiant smile and a heartfelt “You’re welcome. Put it to good use,” pierced through the solemnity of our farewell.

Later, as I battled my health crisis in the hospital, I had ample time to reflect on Bart’s parting words. What was my passion? What was the ‘farmer’ in me that made my eyes twinkle with genuine joy? It took years of introspection to find the answer.

Years later, as I lamented the seemingly small impact of my work with RoundMap, I realized that true impact isn’t about reaching the masses but deeply touching individual lives. Bart had only needed to get one person to shine brightly, reminding me to cherish the connections I had made and to continue my journey with renewed purpose.

Bart’s legacy is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact of compassion. His story, a beacon of light in my darkest times, has instilled in me a deep-seated belief in the goodness of people and the resilience needed to pursue one’s passions, regardless of the obstacles.

In loving memory of Bart Gerrit Veldhuizen (†2012), whose life, though briefly intersected with mine, will forever inspire me to live intensely, love generously, and cherish life’s simple joys.


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