A little while back, a dear friend of mine suddenly fell ill and had to have an emergency surgery for something he hadn’t even known that he had. It wasn’t exactly life-threatening but it was delicate because the discovery was made quite late.
This news woke me up from a slumber I never knew I was in; I experienced great fear of the possibility of never seeing him again.
As I dug down to interrogate these feelings (because my fear was incompatible with I knew, it was almost irrational); I realized my fear was being magnified by something else besides the unexpected news I received. A few days before the sudden turn of events, I had consistently had a strong urge to say some things to him; tell him how much I appreciate him, our friendship and having him in my life. Something from somewhere impressed upon me need a to express to him the joys of knowing him but I didn’t. I belittled it, postponed it and later concluded it would be somewhat awkward. My unconscious decision at the time was that it was important enough to endure some awkwardness for.
This was the root of my exaggerated fear because, even though I was very much concerned about him and how things worked out, my fear was more about the possibility of never seeing him again. It was really about the possibility of never getting the chance of telling him, what I now saw was important, because I was too silly and a little full of myself.
Well, he had surgery, he was fine and I was happy and relieved. I promised myself that once he was a little stronger, I would pour my heart out but guess what? After about a week or two, when the chance came up to have the conversation I had purposed to have, I felt myself sliding back into my old foolishness, wondering about inconsequential things like how awkward it would all sound. I literally had to force myself to say those things. Even as I said it to him, I could hear myself editing out words. But for that scare that his sudden indisposition had given me, I know I would not have told him anything.
Many people are like me, always postponing important things; maybe a trip, an important conversation, an apology, a life-changing advice, a proposal, the pursuit of a dream or desire especially when it concerns those things and people that we love the most. Instead, we concern ourselves with convenience, not looking or sounding silly, our pride or some other frivolous reason(s). We think they’ll always be there, so we say, “I’ll do it later” or “(s) he knows”, et cetera.
This is why having a scare that reminds us of what we need to do is not always a bad thing. It shows us that we need to do everything that can and should be done now, today because tomorrow is not promised.
A little scare is definitely not a bad thing if it will get us shaken up enough to do the things that really matter; show people how much they mean to us, for instance, because they really need to know and we need to do it in real time. This is because people might not die but life happens; that best friend might move on soon, that sibling might become busier, that colleague may get another job and move away or maybe that romance might not work out like you dreamed.
It is important and absolutely worth it to let people know what they added to your life by doing and saying what we need to in the time when it matters most; now.
And maybe it’s not even something related to our relationships but just pursuing those thing we believe we give us fulfilment or the kind of legacy we want to leave behind. Little jolts like a health scare or an unexpected death, often remind us that opportunities go as they come and we don’t have forever.
So what if we have to endure some awkwardness or hardship? So what if people find out that we actually care more than we let on? Is that really so bad? The sacrifice can never compare to the good that comes from taking the bull by the horns with our lives and relationships especially when we compare it to the great losses that some little hesitation or postponement could cause us.
May God help us. May we help ourselves.