Saturday, September 18, 2004

You never know...

...if there will be a tomorrow. There are no guarantees.

Mom called yesterday on the way back from a funeral. There are a lot of older people in my mother's church, so this is nothing unusual. In fact, they recently buried a woman I knew years ago, someone my parents had known for over 20 years. But I was wrong. It wasn't one of the older parishioners; it was the 40-year-old sister of my foster sister who died. There is some confusion over who had the knife first, but she was stabbed to death by her husband in front of their 11-year-old daughter.

I am stunned and shocked. So much death in people so young and full of life recently, senseless deaths that hit like a lightning strike on a clear summer day in a sky full of nothing but blue. Reminds me there are no guarantees on tomorrow.

We plan for a future that may not be there, not because of nuclear holocaust or plague or war, but because of the instability of life. Makes me wonder why we all do it. Do we keep planning because we are programmed from the egg to do so or because to give up and live each moment as if it is our last makes us feel like we're standing on shifting sands and the tide's going out?

Too many people I know are waiting for the right time to have a baby, launch a career, get a divorce, or change their lives, but there is no right time. Holidays come at the same time every year and will continue to do so whether you wait to make that change in your life or not. Birthdays and special celebrations, the next pay check, the next scheduled vacation, retirement, school, going grocery shopping, or having enough money are all excuses we use because we know there will be another month, another year, another decade, another 20 years, but there are no guarantees. We might not have more than a moment or two. What we do with the moments makes a big difference in how we live and what we make of our lives.

I've always said I don't want to look back from my death bed with regret at what I didn't do but with joy at what I did do. But there may be no death bed. Life could end at the flashing point of a knife on the front porch of your home in front of your loved ones. There may be no time to regret anything.

If, as my grandmother always said, bad news and deaths come in three, I sincerely hope my threes have passed with the deaths of Tassos, Beth and Mrs. Pelfrey. And if there is another death to come and Mrs. Pelfrey wasn't the third in my life, I pray it does not find me or those I know and care about before they have anything they've left undone or before they realize where their hearts and their futures lie.

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