“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Etienne de Grellet (1773-1855), Quaker missionary
Who among us hasn’t been guilty of living as if we had an infinite number of days in front of us? We tell ourselves that we’ll play a game with the kids later, that we’ll visit our relative in the nursing home later, that we’ll take time to volunteer in our community later. It’s easy to find an excuse for living reactively instead of proactively. I’ve had a rough day at work and it’s the season finale of my favorite show, so I’m just going to sit in front of the television tonight. I’m tired and want to play on my computer instead of read a book to the kids. I’ve been cleaning the house all day, I’ll call that ailing family member tomorrow. The thing is, none of us is promised tomorrow.
What if you didn’t wake up tomorrow? Would you be satisfied with the way you left things with those you care about or would you wish you had done something differently? Earlier tonight, I was listening to my music on iTunes and the song “Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis came on. One of the verses in that song is a good lesson for us all:
It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.
Take that time to play a game with the kids, to listen to that friend who’s had a challenging day, to call or visit that family member who’s in a nursing home. It’s surprising sometimes to hear what memories stand out as memorable ones. I’ve found that my daughter remembers some of the little things that we’ve done together more than the big events. Just the other day she mentioned that she really loves to take walks together because she likes that I listen to what she has to say while we’re walking. To me, it’s such a small thing, but if I was gone tomorrow, it would be a memory that she has of me.
Make the most of the moments you have with those you love, because these moments are the memories that they’ll have when you are gone.