Autumn always reminds me of the brevity of life. The color of the leaf’s as they change reminds me of the outdoor celebration of life we held a few days after my friend Troy died. Just a few days prior to our celebration of his life, I had passed him in the cafeteria as I rushed out the door. I glanced over at him and every fiber of my body told me to stop to talk to him. The look on his face as he glanced up and saw me wave told me that I should spend a few minutes with my friend. But I was in a hurry and I ignored his look, I put aside my instinct and rushed out the door. I never saw him alive again.
I’ve long since forgotten what I was rushing to go do. I have no memory of what I felt was so important at the time. I only remember his face and the desire I read in it to connect for a moment. He had leukemia, but because he was still there living on campus with us the reality of the disease never set in for me. Until that word spread that he had died. I cried out “if only” into the void his loss left in my life. I learned a very painful lesson that life is short and you absolutely don’t know the number of our days.
It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of our worlds and rush past a moment that should have been savored. For me, life is packed full wit school activities, homework help, the girls dance activities, church, and family each day. In the hectic world of wife, mom, daughter and friend it is easy to lose track of what is important. Each and every day I tell my children that I love them. I strive to live my life in a way that tells my husband that I love and respect him.
There are days when my humanness shows and I fail at my daily mission. But each day I return to the same mission and give it my all. I always listen to my instinct now to call someone, pray for them when they suddenly come to mind, and never ignore a look that says I need you to connect with me.
If you are rushing right now to do a task is it really as important as connecting with another human at this given moment? I remember everything about the moment that I passed my friend Troy without stopping to talk to him. I remember the sounds around me, the look on his face, the feeling that I ignored, the time of the year, the smell of the cafeteria, but I don’t remember at all what I was rushing to go do. It was this exact week in October twenty five years ago and I can still Troy’s face clearly asking me to linger just a moment with him. And I still feel the lump in my throat in response to the lost opportunity to connect one last time.
With autumn I am reminded to slow down and not rush past the life surrounding me. What about you? What are your priorities in life, family, friendship and business?