Today is special, to be savored, enjoyed, and shared. So, what's on your agenda for today? Today is all we have. Yesterday is past, tomorrow may never come. Life life as if you mean it!
Today Only Comes Around Today
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.
"This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie."
He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.
"Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it.
She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion."
He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician.
His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.
"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death.
I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives.
I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done.
I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
And I continued to think about her. And what I could learn from it.
Today is All We've Got
And I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life.
I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.
I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing.
I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would've done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends.
She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing - I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with - "someday".
Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write - one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is... a gift from God.
Being a friend could save a life
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? What a life? He must really be a nerd."
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives."
He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes.
We hung around together all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, "Darn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!"
He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach . . . , but mostly your friends."
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone
is the best
gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.