It was a long hard day. Early in the morning, the news was bad. Found out someone lost their mom and someone lost their granddaddy – both loved ones leaving us on Nathan’s birthday. The families in both cases were extremely close knit. I didn’t know how those left behind were going to hold on. I hate bad news.
I thought about life and how fragile it really is. You wake up in the morning thinking you are going to make it back home in the evening or that there’ll be time to run errands, call friends, pay bills, clean the house, cook a meal, visit a loved one … and the reality is you might not make it back or do one single thing before you take that last breath.
I found myself having a conversation with myself, saying: “Self! You really need to pay more attention to keeping your house tidier and what about all those books you promised to give away? Let’s not forget the old files filled with papers from all of your courses … and the clothes! Way too much clutter! And wait, did you tell Nathan you loved him before he got out of the car for school? Does he really know you have his best interests at heart and that you’re not being unnecessarily mean? Who will you leave your Samsung tablet to, or laptop, or Kindle, or digitized skipping rope or kettle-bell or five bibles ? Would anyone want your few pieces of jewellery or the plants you water every single day? Who would plan your funeral service? Your best friends won’t be any use to themselves far less you … you’d better put some sort of plan in place for that …”
It was hard to concentrate. As the day wore on I kept thinking of my mom and how much I missed her. Maybe it was because I remembered the guy in the baby store on the weekend who as he was cashing us out kept whispering loudly in frustrated tones at his elderly relative behind the counter (who was moving way too slow in packing items purchased by customers or understanding what was to be done). I had wanted to tell the younger man to be patient and to show love because at least the old man was still around (for now) and that it’s ‘once a man twice a child’ for real … but I chickened out, afraid I would say the wrong thing … I was that emotional.
Mid-afternoon I decided. I would leave the office to make a run to the bank during my lunch hour. There was much to be done before I traveled on business later during the week; time was of the essence! But less than five minutes into the journey I had a big change of heart and instead of paying bills, I spontaneously turned off the main road into the little residential area nearby. I was going to visit my ailing aunt.
Did I have time for this? I didn’t know as I parked my vehicle but I got out anyway. I hugged my aunt and stroked her silver hair. I spent time feeding her (very very small spoonfuls of blended food which was eaten very very slowly), made small talk with the other wonderful old ladies (at various stages of memory loss so our conversations are always hilarious) and laughed with the care givers. This beautiful soul probably doesn’t even remember me being there at all and for sure neither do the other residents. I never made it to the bank but it was the best half hour of my day.
And then it hit me: bad news then (especially about death) can be good news, when acknowledged as the catalyst which moves us out of stagnation and procrastination faster than any other news. Later that night I learnt a wife and husband had lost their father-in-law and father respectively. My heart can’t take much more hurt but now these words are branded with a hot iron into my brain: Tomorrow is never promised … ever!
If you are reading this and your loved ones are with you: hug them, call them, love them – while they are here. Have a dream you’ve put on the back-burner for a long time? Dust it off, do something about making it a reality today. Someone looking for encouragement or support? Get out there and help. A friend (or enemy) requires prayer? Get down on your knees and start lifting them up. Need to forgive someone who really really hurt you – you know what to do … right?
All I’m saying is life is short, and each day it seems to be getting even shorter. People all around us are dying. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Reduce the race car speed of your life for a moment, and focus on what you know is important rather than what you think is urgent. Say what you have to say, do what you have to do, love who you need to love: NOW – because when you are ready it might just be too late. ♥♥♥
“There’s something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate your life now.” Angelina Jolie
“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross