“I had to make you uncomfortable, otherwise you never would have moved.” Universe
Well Universe, congratulations. You’ve made me, and the remainder of mankind, inconceivably uncomfortable!
Have you ever felt like a black cloud has been following you? That everywhere you turn, lady luck is giving you the middle finger? And just when you think your year could not get any worse, you find out that rock bottom has an underground bunker! This pretty much sums up 2020 for me—and I’m sure the same could be said for many of you.
In addition to the state of our country due to the pandemic, unemployment, fires and social unrest to name a few—I lost both my Grandmother and Father within a few months of each other. It’s like the Universe is saying, “Look Sissy, you’ve become complacent. Time to shake things up.”
It is said that out of every tragedy—out of every failure—there is a lesson to be learned. And out of every lesson learned, there is growth—there is movement. Is this what the Universe is trying to show us? That we must experience things in our lives that make us uncomfortable in order to appreciate what we have—and imagine what could be?
How many times did we blow off seeing a family member because we were too busy? How often did we abuse our bodies and neglect our health? How often did we thank the medical community or small business owners in our communities for the services they provide? How many times did we slow down enough to appreciate nature or time spent with our children? I could go on and on…
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, it’s difficult to ignore that we do not have total control over the Universe, its resources and its ability to teach us valuable lessons. What we do with that information is up to us. Will we continue to wash our hands vigorously and clean and disinfect all surfaces? Will we be courteous about personal space and be more mindful about going to work sick? Will we slow down and spend more quality family time together? Will we visit our grandparents and parents regularly—just to say hello and give a hearty hug?
The thing about lessons is sometimes they are followed by shame and guilt. After my Step-Dad died three years ago, I went into deep mourning. Instead of spending time with other family members, I clung to my Mom as we tried to imagine a life without Dave and without fighting cancer. The thing is, I still had a Grandmother and a Father that were alive. They would have done anything to have my love and attention. Instead, I choose to live in what was no longer. Dave was gone. I couldn’t bring him back. I wish I could say that I learned from his death and spent countless hours with my family and friends. But I didn’t. I went inward instead.
I rarely visited my Grandmother, who lived in the same town as me. The day before she died, I went to see her. As I watched her sleep, I told her how much I loved her. Slowly she opened her eyes, smiled and said, “You are so beautiful.” “I love you.” Those were her last words to me. I told her she was the one that is beautiful. She shook her head. Even at the end, she was so happy to see me.
A couple of months later, my Dad lay sleeping in his bed. I came by after my Step-Mom alerted me that he wasn’t doing well and that he had been sleeping almost non-stop. “Daddy?” As his eyes came into focus he responded, “I thought you were an angel.” "No Daddy, just your Princess," I whisper. I got him out of bed and into his chair. I made his bed with newly washed sheets. I cooked him lunch and got him some water. As he sat in his chair eating, I asked him if he would like me to cut his toe nails. He responded, “Really?” I sat on the ground next to his feet and carefully clipped away at his overgrown toe nails. He was so swollen from edema that he couldn’t bend to care for his toe nails. His skin was painfully dry, cracking and seeping water and blood from the edema. I lotioned his feet and massaged them just like I used to do when I was a little girl after he returned from work. A little over a week later he was gone.
Yesterday I was going through our landline phone messages. I rarely answer that phone and even more rarely check the messages. There were two missed calls from my Dad. His voice was hoarse, but he said on both of them, “Just checking on you. I love you.” It’s really hard not to feel regret. I would do anything in the world to be able to answer that call now. And he was checking on me because he hadn’t heard from me in a while.
I hope that in sharing this with you that you will not make the same mistake I made. Time is precious. Spend that time wisely. Spend that time in appreciation for what you have and who you have. Remember this; someone is out there right now praying for something you have been blessed with.
One day this pandemic will be a mere memory (I hope), let it not be in vain. Let us reflect on the good that has come out of this. It has forced us to move and adjust. It has made us appreciate the things we currently don’t have access to. It has forced us to slow down and spend more time with our families.
But life will go back to “normal” one day. Will you wait until the Universe forces you to be uncomfortable again or will you willingly move in order to grow and find purpose?
The decision is yours.
Let's embrace Mondays, and everyday with excitement. We will do it together, each Monday-- for a moment.