January 29    

Today's quotation:

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?  And why are you waiting?

Stephen Levine

Today's Meditation:

I think of this question often, for someone exposed me to it quite a few years ago.  I wonder from time to time what I have left unsaid or undone, and whom I would call today if I knew that I were going to die tomorrow.  And when I realize that I might have said something unkind or had an argument with someone with whom I don't want to stay on bad terms, I do what I can to make things better with that person as soon as I can.  Do I want my last words to one of my stepdaughters to be words of anger or frustration?  I don't think so.

This is a great way to keep your mind clear of some of the small, nagging things that take up so much of our mental energy.  If I did have an argument with someone, this puts it in perspective--do I want to continue feeling anger and resentment about our disagreement, and allow those feelings to dominate me, or do I want to find that person and make things right, allowing my mind to focus on other things that are much more pleasant and productive?  I don't want to wait for the perfect time or until the other person apologizes--that time may never come.

The other people in our lives are our most important resources.  Without them, we don't learn, we don't grow, we don't change, we don't feel the touch of love and compassion and caring in our lives.  Without them, we have no one to whom to give our love and caring.  It's important if we're going to get the most out of our lives that we accept them as they are and allow them to be who they are without putting our artificial expectations upon them.  It's up to us to make things right and not to wait for someone else to do so, for we know just how important it is; they may not have learned that yet.

Of course, Stephen isn't talking about everyone, all the time.  If I were going to die tomorrow, I'd call my parents.  But since I call them regularly anyway, I don't give them a call every time I think about this concept.  But I do my best to make things right with others when and where I see the need.

Questions to consider:

Why might we not make the calls that would make things better, or that would give us a chance to talk to people we care for?

What's the most important situation that you would like to make right?

Is it morbid to think of the possibility of dying tomorrow?  Why do a lot of people avoid thinking this way?
For further thought:

Conditions are never just right.  People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing.

William Feather



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