For Granted

Today was a very special day for me.   I wish I could tell you it was because of something great like a promotion at work, or because something I wrote was published.  But my special occasion has nothing to do with fame or material wealth.  It has nothing to do with my kids or my job.  Today was a special day because of a phone call.

Actually it was two phone calls, one placed and one received, and the nature of both stemming from the tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina. The outgoing call was to a friend of mine from high school.  She sent an e-mail wanting to know if anyone had information on a former teacher of ours who lives in New Orleans.  I happened to know that our mutual friend was safe in northwest Louisiana, so I gave her a call.  I had not seen her since our 10 year reunion 5 years ago, (Holy crap! I’ve been out of high school for 15 years?!?!  Damn I’m getting old!) and we used the next 40 minutes to get caught up.

Not more than an hour after I hung up with her I received a call from out of the blue from an old work friend.  His name is Mark and he was my buddy when he was living here in Florida.  We both started at GTE at about the same time, we had kids at about the same time, and we did just about everything together.  The first time I ever played golf was with Mark.  The first time I got shit faced drunk in Ybor City was with Mark.  The first time I took a shower with another man was with ……….  actually, I was drunk then, too, so I am not exactly sure with whom the shower was.  But I digress.

Both calls got me to thinking about how easily we allow ourselves to take things in life for granted.  And unfortunately, and more often then not, it is the most precious and dear things in our lives which are first to be cast by the wayside.  Parents, spouses and lifelong friends.  We know they will always be there for us, so we shrug when reminded of how long it’s been since we make the time to say hello and tell them how much we appreciate them.  “The game is on right now.  Ehhhhhhh. I’ll just call her tomorrow.”

This leads me to think of the song “Right Now” by Van Halen, and how on their live CD Sammy Haggar quips to the crowd, “…tomorrow might not never come!”  Sammy’s improper grammar aside, he and the song make a great point.  “Don’t wanna wait ’til tomorrow / Why put it off another day? / One by one, little problems / Build up, and stand in our way”.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Tomorrow is not written in stone.  Tomorrow may indeed never come for many of us.  Just turn on CNN and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I am really going to try and avoid a barrage of clichés right now, but life is short and we all need to seize the day when we can.  Strike when the iron is hot.  We need to find the strength to follow our hearts and do what we think, feel and believe is right.  Even if it’s something as simple as picking up the phone and telling a friend, “I just wanted to hear your voice and say hello.”  Even if it’s as complex as taking a deep breath and changing your life forever.  Because when you stop and think about it, tomorrow is nothing more than a belief.

And on that note, I’ll catch y’all tomorrow…….

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