“The trouble is you think you have time.” ~ attributed to Buddha
During the past five days, I have seen, heard of, and read of no fewer than ten sudden, unexpected deaths of young people in and around our community. The juxtaposition of this with the start of school and all the first-day, new-clothes, fresh-faced photos is a challenge.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with a family member dealing with a short time to live. I cleared my day and took the time just to visit. I did not wear a watch; I turned off my phone ringer; I had no activities scheduled that evening and nothing to ‘get to’ when I left there. I drove 75 miles each way just to visit because that’s all she said she wanted. She wanted people to come visit.
I was nervous when I arrived so I started when she answered the door by saying,”Hi. I came to visit.” We spent the next four hours talking, laughing, eating, visiting, and just being. There was no fanfare; there were no bells nor whistles. There were just people, being with each other, talking and loving each other.
On my drive home, I thought about all the people I really meant to visit. I planned to stop by to see them. Or I was going to call and ask them to lunch. And then it was too late. The only thing for me to do was to attend their funeral.
And how ironic that I took time for these people I did not have time for when they were alive. I took the time off to attend their wake or their funeral. They couldn’t see me or talk to me. And yet, when it was possible to actually see them, to talk to them, to be with them, I did not have time.
I would rather an empty church for my funeral because everyone is visiting someone alive. I would rather you talk to me today than worry that you didn’t get to talk to me after I’ve died. (And the Good Lord willing, that won’t happen for a very long time!)
We have an opportunity to shift the paradigm. Go see someone now. Talk to them today. Be with them. While they are here, just go visit. That’s probably all they want ~ whether they are 6 or 86, whether they are the picture of health or hours from death.
The trouble is we think we have time.