“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus on the light.” – Aristotle Onassis
Last week I had the opportunity to fly to Washington and meet a team I have historically worked remotely with. One of the individuals I finally had the privilege to meet was Lisa Wilson, Partner in Tacoma, Washington. I asked Lisa what her plans were after dinner while we were enjoying the view of Tacoma and simultaneously devouring our delicious surf and turf. She mentioned she was heading to her mother’s house to help shave her head. I was perplexed.
Lisa then explained that Dorothy (Lisa’s mother) has stage 4 lung cancer. While this conversation initially seemed like a very dark road to go down, Lisa was somehow full of light and love. She enthusiastically told us that after dinner, she would be going to her mother’s house to help shave her head for the second time in 3 months. See, Lisa and Dorothy saw this as an opportunity to strengthen the bond between one another. As you could imagine, this took me aback. While Lisa and Dorothy could have so easily focused on all of the negativity and heartbreak that is routinely attached to such a dreadful diagnosis, they instead decided to concentrate on strengthening the mother-daughter connection.
Lisa told me she “would never wish this journey on anyone, but could not be more grateful for the time it is giving her with Mom. Before she was sick, it was so easy to let days go by and not connect and now I am doing so much better at being in the moment and with her as much as I can. The hair shaving, while another sad reminder of her current journey, is also another opportunity to make a memory.”
Whoa… Lisa’s words and actions touched my soul. She reminded me that we have a limited time left here on earth. Each interaction we have with a loved one is one less interaction we will ever get to have with that individual. Personally, I have a tendency to take the time I have with those I love for granted. Lisa’s story reminded me that we must take full advantage of the time we GET to share with our family and friends. We do this by putting down our phones, turning off the TV, and closing our laptops. We must fully immerse ourselves in the Present because its is all we really ever have.
Most of us live extremely busy lives and tend to neglect those we care about in pursuit of material acquisitions because we THINK that once we can buy that biggER house, nicER car, or receive that largER raise that we will be happy and complete. But what good are these material items if we refuse to make the time to share and enjoy them with those we love the most?
The truth is that none of us know how much time we have in this life and taking that fact to heart brings a sort of moral and emotional clarity and energy to the present. This is your life, the only one you’ve got. You will never get this moment back again. And you don’t know how many more moments you have. No matter how many times you do something, there will come a day when you will do it for the last time. We’ve had a thousand chances to tell the people closest to us that we love them in a way that they feel it, and we have missed most of them. And we don’t know how many more we are going to get.
When is the last time you reached out to your mother, father, or best friend and simply told them you loved them? When is the last time you thanked them for being in your life? Personally, I did this immediately after I got back to my hotel room from dinner and I hope that Lisa and Dorothy’s story inspires you to do the same!
Enjoy every moment of today!