This week I was shocked by the news of a relative’s family member being found dead a whole two weeks after she was murdered. Death once again didn’t fail to wake us up with a jolt and remind us of how fragile and unpredictable life really is. It made me think again of how we take the people in our lives for granted, how we place more importance on things — on money and objects — than on the people who make us smile and laugh and hope and believe. Whether these people are family or friends or both doesn’t really matter. The point is that sometimes we only really realise how much we’ve missed out on until someone is gone. We sometimes only stop to think about what we could’ve said or done until someone is no longer there to hear it.
I’ve come to realise that with each day’s promise of a new dawn, lurks the possibility of a very final goodbye. None of us really know what tomorrow or even the next hour holds for us. When we meet family and friends or colleagues or even someone new, we never know much more time we have left with them. This is the one constant in life and we’re all well aware of it. As you are born, so you must die. Yet each day most of us make the very conscious choice of staying angry with people — sometimes for petty things. We make the choice of making decisions about people based on judgements or on what other people think about them instead of looking past all of that and forging relationships.
The important word here is CHOICE. At every point in life we are given a choice. And the choice we make determines where we go. People often hide behind fate and destiny and what’s meant to be, but the truth is we all have choices. We make a choice and then if something goes wrong we blame it on God, on fate, on people. But we never blame ourselves. We never blame ourselves for choosing a path that has led us to that juncture. And the sooner we start placing more thought on the choices we make, the sooner we will realise that it’s all in our hands. The sooner we will take people more seriously and place more importance on each of our relationships instead of the things we own or desire to own. Because when tragedy strikes and you look back, you don’t remember how much money you have in your bank account or whether you washed your car or locked your house, you remember people. You think about the people in your life and most times you wish to see them, to meet them and to talk to them. I’ve been there and that’s why I know this. When I lay on the side of the road after my car accident I was so grateful to hear my parents voices on the phone. I couldn’t care less about the car that was just written off. When I opened my eyes are my operation I saw people I cared about standing by my bed and then I closed my eyes again, comforted and knowing that I was loved. Soon after recovery I started making plans to move closer to my family and friends and when I got there I did everything I could to ensure we spent maximum time together, we made good memories and we made new friends. My priorities were set right.
The point is it’s never too late to reach out. People make us who we are. Our accomplishments merely push us on to greater heights in the professional world, but the people in our lives support us and encourage us and love us. Don’t wait for life teach you who was important to you. It will be too late and you will live with regrets that never disappear with time.