“Someday, I’ll go for it.”
Too many of us are in the habit of postponing the important things for someday, only to find that day doesn’t exist. If we dare accomplish what’s most meaningful to us, we must take action today.
In recent years, my mother has spent time in skilled nursing facilities as she recovered from illnesses and a couple surgical procedures. Something I never got used to during her stays was the sound of alarms constantly echoing down the halls.
Patients who were a fall risk or those in danger of wandering off due to dementia were monitored with the use of alarms installed on beds and wheelchairs. If they attempted to stand, the alarm bellowed to alert the nursing staff.
I stood at the nurse’s station one day waiting on a technician to finish a phone call so I could ask a question. A friendly little lady sitting nearby rose from her wheelchair and offered to help. The alarm on her chair sounded but she was oblivious to the source of the noise. She just wanted to be of service. She wanted to contribute in a meaningful way.
The majority of patients were permanent residents. Any opportunity to make a contribution was confined to what could be accomplished within the walls of the facility and within the limits of their physical and mental capabilities.
While this dear woman was a ray of sunshine, many others looked like they’d lost all hope.
Urgency and a Compass
Just being in such an environment ignited a sense of urgency to use my gifts now and make a contribution while I’m able.
I get that same stirring when I drive past a cemetery. Our days are limited. If there is any certainty in life, it is this.
An assignment in a college speech class years ago struck a chord with me. The instructor gave us the choice of presenting a toast or delivering our own eulogy. The eulogy intrigued me, but I caved and gave a toast.
A few years ago, the eulogy idea resurfaced while I was reading. In his book Mastering the Seven Decisions, author Andy Andrews urges readers to work through The Deathbed Exercise by writing their eulogy. By then, I had more life experience under my belt including caregiving for many years. The exercise, at that time, resonated more deeply within me.
So, I did it. I wrote my eulogy. And you know what? The process was not as morbid or as difficult as I expected. This exercise was actually quite healthy and brought much-needed clarity to my life.
I am certainly not yet the person I described on that piece of paper. I still face the same challenges. I have not yet achieved all my goals but I have taken intentional steps in that direction. The eulogy now serves as my compass.
Today, Not Someday
Hearing others express regret for not taking chances when they had the opportunity is heart-breaking. When I asked my mother what kept her from doing what she loved most, she said there was never any time. Growing up, I remember her saying someday she’d get around to it. Sadly, someday never came.
We can use whatever excuse we want to put off doing we’re called to do. We can say we’re too busy. We can say it’s not the right time. We can say what temporarily makes us feel better. But we’re just kidding ourselves. Someday will never magically arrive for any of us.
I don’t want my final days to be haunted with regret wondering what I could have accomplished if only I’d tried. I would rather fail in the attempt than carry the burden of regret.
Between now and the bed alarm, I am determined to do what I can to make the rest of my journey the very best it can be.
Today is a great day to contribute our gifts and make a difference in someone’s life. Right this moment, perfect timing or not, is the opportunity to take that first step.
Tell me, what step will you take today?