Tuesday, June 14, 2011
What are you waiting for?
I have this old friend. We've been friends for over ten years, but over the past couple of years we've fallen out of touch, and things even got a bit hurtful. We both tiptoed around the subject for a long time, hearing "he said, she said" things about each other, which only fueled the negativity of this situation. I thought about this friend a lot, as we were still in the same circle of friends, same social networking sites, etc. I had nothing but love for her, but was so confused as to how things had gotten so terribly off course. People change, yes, but when you are friends with someone for so many years, it's beyond sad when the entire climate of the relationship changes, without any chance to talk to figure things out. Then just the other week I had had enough. We ended up texting, then talking on the phone, and realizing that what our mutual "upset-ness" was based on was entirely false and only spurred on by something totally untrue. It was amazing to be able to talk with her and made me think about how much time had been wasted; how much negativity had been between us for such a long time that didn't even have to be there. Yes, we may have still grown apart and gone separate ways, but all of the hurt feelings and sad thoughts were completely unnecessary and wouldn't have ever happened had one of us just reached out.
So this got me thinking- why do we wait to tell people things that are on our minds? Maybe you have an apology you've been holding onto. Maybe you have an "I love you" you haven't said. Maybe, like me, you've been thinking about something for a long time but haven't moved forward with talking about it.
When I think about things I'd like to say to people, a few things come to mind. I'd like to write a letter to my Dad and tell him how proud of him I am and how thankful I am for all the sacrifices he's made for our family. I want my best friend to know how much joy she brings to my life. I want my Mom to know how much I look up to her, and I want my sister to know how much I love her. And Hank. I tell him all of the time, but I want him to really feel that love, and to make sure he knows that I see him, I get him, I appreciate him more than he knows. And then there's a professor I'm not in contact with anymore, but I think about her often and I'd love to share with her how influential she was in my life.
I carry these thoughts around with me, thinking that I should do this, write this, reach out to this person. But more often than not, I don't (kind of sad to admit). But when I had this experience with my old friend, it inspired me to make changes in my life and be in the moment, and tell people all of these things in my heart. We don't know if we have tomorrow. And that sounds so cliché, but it's true. Nothing is a guarantee.
Four years ago I lost one of my closest friends very tragically and unexpectedly. I had seen him just that afternoon and we had plans that very evening. When we saw each other that last time we gave each other a big hug and said "I love you," before he went on his way, and I went on mine. How was I to know that that would be the last time I ever saw him? I think about him everyday, and I think about that moment. I feel so grateful that my very last memory of him is that hug in the library, that "I love you sister" he said to me, and those blue, blue eyes. I miss him so much, but being able to have told him how much I loved him means the world to me.
And then just a few years ago my father had a heart attack while at work and fell very hard in the process, hitting his head. They were able to revive him at the hospital twice, but he was unconscious for a long while and they warned us that if he ever came to, he probably wouldn't be able to speak or do much. It was heartbreaking, and even more so because I felt like I had been carrying around so many things in regards to my father; some anger and resentment, some things I never got to ask him, and worst of all, I felt like he maybe didn't really know how much he was loved. It was hard to sit with him over those next few weeks not knowing if he'd come around, with so many things left unsaid.
Both of these sadnesses remind me not to wait, not to hold back, just to say what needs to be said and to express your love, gratitude, forgiveness, and whatever else you may be holding onto. It's a reminder to have an open heart and share any joy you have with the people around you; to always be sure they know they are loved. Since I've started trying to live my life more in the now, I feel like it's helped me enjoy the now even more. Like I said above, there are no guarantees. All I know is I don't want to waste any of the time I have, and I want to be sure that all of the people I love know how much I love them.
So with that said, do you have anything you've been carrying around? Have you been harboring negative feelings towards something you need to let go of, forgiveness you need to give, or an apology you've been meaning to make? Or maybe you have something positive that should be shared, an I love you you need to convey. What are you waiting for?