It’s been more than 24 hours since I’ve learned of Robin Williams’ suicide. My social media news feeds are filled with condolences. Memories. Sorrow. It’s been more than 48 hours since my tweets and posts were interrupted by the chaos and loss in Ferguson, MO. One month since Renee. Car accidents. Airplane crashes. Heart attacks. Cancer. My summer fun has been overshadowed by death at every turn.
For those of you who aren’t comfortable talking about death or dying, you officially have my permission to click on another blog or read something else that keeps you in your comfort zone. I won’t judge you one bit. Talking about all aspects of death is not for the weak, the insecure, the timid, nor the fragile.
I am none of the above; and yet at times, I am all four.
To me, death is simply a part of life. Just another milestone on that grand stage of accolades that began with my very first breath. So it began and so it will end. What’s important is what happens during the dash in the middle. (Right, Greg?) I woke up this morning with the song, “Say What You Need to Say” by John Mayer resounding on my heart. Have you ever considered the impact you have on others? If you were to die today, what would people remember? What would they say?
Sometimes in this wonderful journey of performing random acts of kindness, I get a sneak peek into people’s reactions when I do something nice for them. Maybe it’s a comment on my blog or a heartfelt smile in the moment. These gems are treasures indeed; they serve as reminders that I have worth in my purpose and I’m on the right track.
Rarely, however, do I get the inside scoop on someone’s impression of me. Do any of us, really? First impressions are often misleading anyway – a bumbled, botched-up moment of judgement that sadly shapes one’s view of another long after the connection has been made. We are all human. We have good days and bad days. And sometimes we just get caught on the wrong day, at the wrong time, and without even knowing what we’ve done, we’ve impacted someone else in a negative way without an ounce of negative intent whatsoever.
But the opposite is also true. Sometimes we are going about our business, just being the people God made us to be, and we are making an impact on others left and right. Without even knowing.
I’ve often joked with my family that should I be diagnosed with a terminal illness, I want to have my funeral while I am still alive. I want to know what people will say! I want to share in the memories! Do people’s impressions of me really match the person I believe myself to be? I want my life to be remembered as the celebration it is – filled with love, joy, and kindness.
A few weeks ago I received a message on FB from my Zumba instructor, of all people. She had made a comment to me after class about her joy in doing a random act of kindness for a homeless person and, of course, I was thrilled to share in her joy! Below is the message she sent me. (If you can’t view the images, click here to read the texts in paragraph form.)
I had tears running down my cheeks by the end of her message. Such a mixture of emotions! I was humbled. Awed. Slightly embarrassed. (I mean, geez, who else notices that I sing the songs in Zumba while going 100 miles an hour in every direction all at once?) I was also impressed by her writing style – she writes EXACTLY like she talks, much like me! Wow!
She was inspired by me. Inspired? By ME? Really? What in the world? I’m glad she couldn’t see me in that moment, because I’m sure my face was beet red, blushing, with my silly smile plastered from ear to ear. This was just so incredible! (Click here to read the blog post I wrote about her so many months ago.)
All of a sudden, the worries of the world weighing me down didn’t matter. Stress? Completely gone. Nothing else mattered, but that I had made a difference in someone else’s life. I just wanted to reach out and hug her for blessing ME with a gift only she could give – a small glimpse of how my life impacted hers.
Why do we wait to say such important things until it’s too late? This question has nagged me today in light of all the news of death and loss around me. Why. Do We. Wait?
Please take a moment to tell someone you care about how important they are. Tell them how they made a difference in your life. Share with them a story that illustrates your love for them. Remind them of their uniqueness. Don’t wait until it’s too late to heal wounds you may not even know are there. Your words are treasures of unspeakable richness. Share your wealth with others by paying it forward with a heartfelt note or a thoughtful text.
I hope your day will be blessed by words of kindness in return. 🙂