Please pay attention. I am about to get real serious on you because of something that came to me as I was checking up on my Facebook connections last Thursday. I don’t get on the social platform much therefore I run the risk of missing “life events” – both heartbreaking and celebratory, as they unfold.
As I was scrolling along, I stumbled upon a campaign in honor of an industry colleague who everyone seemed to be referring to in the “past tense”. It all sounded familiar and warped me back to June 25, 2009 when I was out shopping at Phipps Plaza for wardrobe to prepare for a photoshoot. On that warm afternoon, as I walked back to my car, everyone in the parking lot seemed to be in a daze. Literally, everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. People gasped, and some even exchanged hugs, as they stopped each other to confirm the shocking news…Michael Jackson was dead.
I got in my car, turned the key in the ignition…and there he was…blaring from the speakers, a well-known Atlanta-based radio personality announcing MJ’s untimely death. I turned to other stations. The news echoed. My heart sank. From then on, whenever I would hear people speaking in past tense about someone, I knew the obvious – they had passed on.
So, back to last Thursday. I noticed the references to this young lady, and as I continued to search frantically for Facebook posts with her voice, and not that of a mourning loved one, I realized through all the “she will be dearly missed, but never forgotten” posts that she had succumbed to cancer almost two years prior. I froze and then became saddened. I continued to scroll through her personal posts prior to her death and I thought, just like everyone else – “Wow, she was an amazing woman”.
And then, out of nowhere, I was overcome with joy. I felt this beautiful sensation because I realized, at that moment, that I still had time.
Time to call my mom and let her know that I would be coming by to sit with her.
Time to text my husband to tell him how much I love and appreciate him.
Time to purchase the new cell phone I had promised my teenaged son for his birthday.
Time to make it all right.
Not tomorrow, not next week, but on that very same day. No, I wasn’t able to contact every single person I know, but this particular Facebook check-in forced me to stop and think about the people I tend to put on the back burner, and the appointments that I let slide because I am just “too busy”.
Time: (noun) The thing that is measured as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, etc. – Merriam Webster
Each moment, before it happens, is only a prediction. When we plan our day, we are predicting what “might” take place. As the clock ticks, our heart ticks along with it. The breaths we take, the steps we walk – it’s all about timing. If something gets out of sync, we pause.
When people pass away, when their heart stops ticking, when they can no longer walk into their purpose, it is a sobering reminder to mankind that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. It doesn’t matter your race, background or status – we all have an expiration date.
Instead of fearing death, or avoiding the thought all together, why don’t we choose to pause, absorb and celebrate what it means to truly live TODAY?
Today could be the day we no longer allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut or become discouraged to the point of giving up.
Today could be the day we no longer get so caught up in “work” that we forget to make time for the people in our lives and the little things that make our hearts beat a little faster.
Today could be the day we take a few minutes to stop and smell the roses, watch the sunset, read a good book, or log into Facebook to post a few “Just thinking of you’s” to let our “friends” know we truly care. Because, TODAY, we still have time.
But what if we choose to wait another 24 hours to act on our gut feeling to call someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, or pursue that business idea?
The truth of the matter is that we are all mortals. The clock just might, once and for all, stop ticking on us.
Written by N. Renee McFadden
Publisher, Purpose Weekly