I woke up a week and a half ago so excited. I was hopefully going to go surprise a friend who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. We had been friends in our past, and although life changes, for me personally, when you are in my heart, you are always there. It’s crazy how God has a way of working things out but she had been unexpectedly admitted back into the hospital with a minor complication, and it happened to be DIRECTLY across the street from the hotel that I was already staying at. We were in a big city! I really believe HE made this happen. My insides were literally shaking on my walk over there….I couldn’t wait to go communicate in person what a rockstar I thought she was. It felt really important to me.
After a visit that meant the world to me I walked out of there feeling full in my heart and absolutely grateful for the opportunity. Her positive attitude and huge smile lit the room! We don’t always get the chance to tell someone we may not talk to very much (or at all) anymore, what they mean or meant to us. Time may pass but hearts still have spots for special people. As I’m literally thinking through these thoughts walking, teary eyed (because of gratitude), to the elevator, my phone was ‘blowing up’ from a cousin. Something was wrong. I felt it. Once off the elevator I called her back and got the news that her husband’s beloved dad choked and died the night before. My heart was broken for some many reasons and on so many different levels. I felt crushed for them, as their last two years have been incredibly challenging, to say the least.
Within a matter of an hour my heart felt an array of emotions that were on opposite ends of the spectrum. I got back to the hotel and couldn’t immediately communicate the grateful, full, heart that I had been overflowing 10 minutes ago, because in an instant my heart was shattered for my family who I knew was breaking completely. I simply opened the door of the hotel room and just sat down right there. I stopped and thought about what I can do differently moving forward. What needs to change? Who do I need to continue to strive to be? Truthfully, half the time, I feel like I'm doing 1/2 the job I should be doing and I'm never sure if I'm doing it right. I do know that faith, attitude, and a grateful heart makes a difference, but even with the best intentions we fall short.
We are all told that life is precious. You’ve heard that it can change in an instant. We walk, however, through life checking things off our list and doing the mundane. We spend our time binge watching shows (I AM SUPER GUILTY OF THIS THE LAST FEW MONTHS- AND TO BE HONEST IT WAS QUITE PLEASURABLE FOR A BIT), avoiding hard conversations, putting our time in things that are of little value, or selfishly committing our time to THINGS and not PEOPLE. We hold grudges.
We look at our reflection instead of our impact. Recognition and power become a drug and we forget about those that we leave behind. Pride controls us and we don’t repent or even own our mistakes. (WE ALL MAKE THEM.)
We fight each other over differences that truly wouldn't matter if today was your last day on earth, and we dig our feet in because of our own beliefs instead of just loving where someone else is at. I would be sitting on a throne of lies if I sat here and told you that I am not guilty of each of the aforementioned things.
People Matter. It’s really that simple. People Matter. I know that we learn and gain perspective and hopefully wisdom with age but I wish that I could teach my children NOW what I didn’t always practice or appreciate at their ages. I'd love them to see all people and love as hard as they could today, and not when it was too late. I try to teach this, but we have all grown and had to learn in our own time, and in our own way.
I have left or let people who REALLY matter to me go, minimized special friendships, or placed value on things other than people. I’ve been too ‘busy’ to recognize others needs. I’ve gotten my feelings hurt and fled instead of working through the difficult. I’ve closed my ears and opened my mouth (WAY TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT). I’ve withheld my forgiveness or wasn’t forgiven. I judged and have been judged. Our time, our intentions, our words and our actions matter to the people that God so preciously put in them, but we let our selfish selves get in the way of these beautiful gifts. We are on HIS time, not ours, and so many times I think we forget that WE don’t choose when it’s our time. I absolutely forget that at times.
I came home with both a grateful and broken heart to MORE personal news of tragedy and diagnosis. Who we are and what we do is what we show the people around us. Life DOES change in an instant and we don’t want to mess up letting the people in OUR lives know. I’ve watched people that have had to go on with regret in their heart….that’s a burden that no one wants to bare. We can’t be all things to all people, and we can’t live in fear, but we can ALL do better by showing our people that they matter. Don’t leave your words unsaid or your heart hardened by the hurts of yesterday. Give grace and forgiveness, pour into people, and show them that they matter today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us, but what you do and say TODAY may matter for eternity.