Why is it always tough to say goodbye to vacation, the weekend, winter break, or time with friends? We look forward to these times in our lives, but when they come to an end, we are never quite ready to say goodbye.
I have been struggling with this blog post. I want to share a very real and personal situation. Last week my friend of over thirty years took his own life.
Billy had been struggling with his own demons for a long time. This past Sunday his family, friends, and co-workers said goodbye. No one was ready for this. We all couldn’t believe that we would never see him again.
A ton of memories have been flooding my mind – basketball games, baseball games, drinking in the woods when we were underage”¦(the list goes on and on)”¦
One memory stands out most of all. We were at a Super Bowl party in one of the sky boxes at Soldier Field, home of our beloved Chicago Bears. It was the mid-90s and sadly the Bears were not playing. The San Francisco 49ers were playing the San Diego Chargers. The game had quickly turned into a blowout, so a few of us decided to go wander the stadium. Billy, Chris, Jay and I found ourselves in the bellows of Soldier Field, seeing where our team played from a very different viewpoint than we ever had before.
On our adventure we found ourselves stopped by a chain-link fence. It seemed our adventure had come to an end. Secretly, I was completely fine with this, but Billy had another idea. Billy started climbing the fence to get to the other side. One by one my friends followed suit, climbing up and over the fence. I was the last one over (completely splitting my pants in the process) and our adventure continued. Before we knew it, we stood before the door of the locker room. The Chicago Bears Locker Room. Our Heroes’ Locker Room: Dan Hampton, Jim McMahon, and (my personal favorite) Walter Payton!
Shockingly, the door was not locked. We entered with wide eyes and gaping mouths, and when it really sunk in where we were all standing, we started jumping up and down as if we had just won the Super Bowl. Less than thirty seconds later a security alarm went off. We all panicked, scattered out of there like cockroaches, and ran like hell back to the sky box. Only one of us looked suspicious – me! I made sure I kept my back to the wall so no one could see my derriere. We never got caught. Victory was ours that day.
Today this is especially one of my most cherished memories.
Trying to bring closure to this situation is extremely difficult. There are so many loose ends and so many questions unanswered. I wrote the piece below over ten years ago when a teenager I knew was taken from us way too soon. I think it applies here too. It is about how we are to move on. I do not have all the answers, but these are words that helped me through a tough time then and they have been comforting to me again today. I hope they may be a source of comfort for you when dealing with a loss.
Life is such a fragile instrument. We never really start living until we have been exposed to death in some form, and then when that initial spark dies down we wait for another “inspiration” to come along. Why is that human nature? Sure, we could debate that, but don’t you think that would be a waste of time?
Life is about who you love and who loves you. When you think about it, that really is what it all boils down to – love. It doesn’t matter where you live, what kind of car you drive, how much money you make, or what type of clothes you wear. None of that matters. All that really matters are your family and friends and how you treat them. That is what life is all about.
We shouldn’t wait for something to happen to bring happiness into their lives. We should bring happiness into their lives just because they are in our lives. Whether it is a phone call, a greeting card, an e-mail, dinner out, a hug, flowers, or a letter telling them how you feel about them – any simple kind of action is all it takes. You know, this is really easy to do. You know what else? This is really easy not to do too!
That is the shame of it. Sometimes the easy things are so damn hard. Another cruel joke of human nature? I don’t think so. We choose to be and do whatever we want in life. Everyday we are faced with many decisions. Everyday we choose to live out that day “our way.” Whatever you do in a day, you have chosen it.
Everybody is given the same amount of time in a day: 86,400 seconds to claim your stake. Whatever you have done in that day is yours and can’t be taken from you. Whatever you have failed to do in that day is lost forever. You only have one chance at making each day a masterpiece. Sure, you can tell yourself that you have tomorrow, but you know what? Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. When we live in “tomorrows” we are living in borrowed time. I believe when we live in the “now” that is how God intended us to live. No looking back, no looking forward, just enjoying the time we have here. That is not to say we can’t plan for our futures or enjoy past memories. Just don’t do it at the expense of today.
Can you think of a few people who you need to “touch” in your life? Life comes along and each person deals with it differently. Don’t let life happen to you. Go out and make something happen in your life. I know I have wasted too much time in my days living in borrowed time. No more.Handicap This,