I had a moving conversation with an elderly gentleman at the office today who periodically stops by for a light chat. We ended up on the subject of how most of us seem to live our lives in a hind sighted way—especially when it comes to doing the little extras for others. How we managed to get on the conversation was when he spoke about a very wealthy couple whom we both have known for a great number of years. I knew them in more of a business environment and he knew them on a personal level. Unbeknownst to me was that both of them are having serious health problems and likely will end up in a nursing home soon. For years, I considered those people of the landed sort who likely never had a care or worry about money. If they wanted a big ticket item, they simply went out and purchased it without bating an eye. Now, their looming health problems are taking up nearly their entire day with doctor appointments and therapies. My friend, as he rose from his chair said, “With all their worldly possessions, look what their lives have become.” With sadness, I agreed.
In thinking about them on and off today, I remembered yet another couple who are both deceased now, who lived a similar life and towards the end, the husband was reaching for some sort of way to prove his worth for being here on earth by donating money to different charities. I once asked him what his driving force was in the large sum gifting he started doing. His chilling response was, “I just want to be remembered.” Having known the couple for a number of years, I can freely say they were very close with their monies. They purchased anything and everything they wanted, but didn’t like the idea of sharing or giving back to their community.
If only we could remind ourselves often that as the days, months, and years pass, something could happen that will drastically change our lives and we can’t go back and fix a hurt we’ve done or take that extra step to lighten someone else’s burden. I’ve heard so many times the expression, “If I had known then what I know now, I would have done things a whole lot different.” I would prefer that all of us who are on this boat of life together simply say to ourselves whenever we discover that we’re so deeply imbedded in the all about me mode, “Give me one more day to know you. Give me one more day to help you. Give me one more day to teach you. Give me one more day to love you.” I think in the end, many people wish they were given just one more day.