Although I didn’t lose anyone on 9/11/01, I remember it vividly as I’m certain we all do. I think about the people in NYC who worked at the World Trade Center buildings who were late to work that day for any small reason, or who called in sick, or who were on a business trip, or worked from home …and are still alive. I also remember not only the numbness, but also the community that the nation felt for months afterward. Where has that community gone?
How often do we let the petty aspects of our lives block our path or give it an unnecessary detour? Did you let your spouse, partner, or children know how much they mean to you before you went to work and they went to school? Do you keep in touch with your intimate circle of influence and let those people know you love them? Time flies by and I realize that I was going to send a friend a card, pick up the phone and call someone, ask this person for dinner, and didn’t. What a missed opportunity for me to connect. It’s in my control and I let it go.
When the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, how much longer will it be before you say, “I can’t believe it’s been so long since we spoke, or saw each other, or been in touch.” I’m a card freak. I know that Hallmark has my name in their “pick a card, any card” file and I’m proud to be in that file. I found one card that made me laugh so long, I ordered 20 of them. It’s the best for me. I see it every now and then, and just laugh looking at it. It has a picture of a 50s style woman with her head tilted backward and a bottle of wine to her lips. You open up the card and it says, “And how was your day?” It tickled me to see it, and it still does. I know that several of my friends appreciate my warped sense of humor when they receive the card – for no apparent reason.
When was the last time you went to your mail box and saw a handwritten envelope? No bill, no marketing flier, no brochure, no “Occupant” address, but an actual handwritten address that you knew was from a friend. It’s a joy among the small things in life that make a difference.
I hunt for funny, no-reason-to-send-this-card cards. I’m also of the school to find a gift at a store that has my friend’s name on it and not only buy it right then, but send it for no apparent reason. It doesn’t have to be a birthday, anniversary or holiday, it is just “their day,” and I thought they needed a present. I’m certain it made them smile. That gives me joy.
We’re in an age of high tech, low touch. People seemingly flow through their lives with earplugs in, eyes down, fingers flying across keyboards and minds blank to anyone near them. It fascinates me that co-workers in cubicles e-mail each other instead of standing up and talking to each other; teens text message each other in the same house! Where did the days go when conversations made the day instead of an e-mail, text message, tweet, etc? We’re cocooning ourselves; blocking out our community and not letting the important people in our lives know how much they mean to us.
I have a splintered family – at best. Part of my family from the East Coast has family in Denver and they visit several times a year. During their last visit a few weeks ago they stayed for two-plus weeks and only a few miles away; not even a phone call. Ouch. What took up so much time that they couldn’t dial ten numbers – at the very least – to say hello? I don’t know. It hurt, and I’ll get over it. But this symbolizes – to me – that we let our lives get in the way of reaching out to others, and may not realize that someone’s feelings get hurt. Now, I know I’m guilty of this as well. I have no one to blame but myself when I let an opportunity to “touch” get away. It’s sad.
Today pick up the phone and let a friend, loved one, co-worker, supervisor, mentor, or even the clerk at the store know that you appreciate who they are and what they do to make your life better, happier, easier, more rewarding, less stressful, or just plan wonderful. I’m going to write a real letter this weekend – the first one in years – to answer one that arrived last month. I’m going to send out two cards – another nonsensical one – to deserving friends too. What can you do today or tomorrow or this weekend to help make someone’s day? Let them know you’re thinking of them and that you love them.
Happy Friday. To 9/11/01 families and friends who lost loved ones that day, you’re in my heart.