Hello! Life calling.

I think I’ve had more than a few moments like Saturday night’s.

I think maybe the timing of Saturday’s moment was particularly unique.

We started out by going to a birthday dinner for my sister-in-law (in the yellow shirt in the photo). She’s the Mom of The (former) Live-In Niece (third from the right). We had a great time eating, laughing, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

As we finished up dinner, it started raining. By the time we made it out to our vehicles, it was really coming down. About five minutes after we started home, we heard one of the local radio stations announce a tornado warning. By the time we made it home, the tornado warning was gone, but we were still under a severe thunderstorm warning for some time.

The first thing The Great Spousal Unit did when we got home was let the dog out (like he would actually want to go out in stormy weather like that). When she came back inside a couple of minutes later, she said she heard one of the big trees in the neighborhood fall down. If you’ve ever heard a hundred foot tall oak tree fall, you remember the sound, so she knew.

Well, it was too dark out to go and check where it happened, and I wasn’t about to get back in the car again, so we waited until morning to find out where the tree came down.

We had just driven down this street, exactly in this spot, about three minutes before the tree came crashing down across the road. Three minutes later getting home– the time to wait at one or two extra traffic lights– and that photo could have included us underneath that tree.

I don’t generally believe in signs. I believe in reminders, though. And I needed this one. Because I already know these things, but I’ve lost sight of them in the general slog to get through each day.

What are the reminders?

Life is short. Don’t be afraid to pursue what is important. Don’t wait to do something meaningful. If people can be helped by what you do, don’t make them wait while you… wait. Because their lives are just as important, and just as subject to the possibility that anything might happen at any moment. You might not get the chance later.

Advocating for People With Diabetes is something I’ve grown into over the past few years. It’s easy for me to feel like what I do doesn’t mean much. Until it means something to someone. Or until I can lead someone to someone else who makes the difference for them. But you never know when that’s going to happen, or when the opportunity will present itself. So you have to be ready.

Also: Never miss an opportunity to experience true, in-the-moment joy while it’s happening. For so many years, I’ve been guilty of recognizing special moments, even in the smallest of things, and moving on with my life like they never really happened. There are reasons for that, not good ones, but I am so guilty of not fully letting myself go for fear that someone will recognize I’m happy and do something to crush it. It’s happened before, and it’s conditioned me to where I felt, I don’t know, like I was 60 or 70 percent happy about something I should have been 100 percent happy about. I’ve been feeling like I’m missing out on 30 or 40 percent of my happiness for a while now. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me.

It’s okay to sit on the sidelines for a while, watching the world go by. But don’t sit too long. Live your life. Make it special. For you, and for someone who needs you.

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  • fifteenwaitfifteen  On June 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I wish EVERYONE IN THE WORLD could read and take this to heart. Maybe then we’d have less hate, less wars, less senseless violence.
    Nothing was ever solved by hate, but plenty of things can be solved by love and kindness. Thank you for the reminders, Stephen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scott E  On June 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Great reminder! I’ll bet that tree didn’t live its life in fear of being taken down by a storm. It stood tall and proud as a Mighty Oak, and never once hid from a perceived threat. And that’s how it will be remembered… not as the plant that couldn’t withstand the wind and rain, but as the Mighty Oak on the block.

    We could all learn a lesson from that tree.

    Liked by 1 person

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