Every day, at every opportunity, we try to do the right thing; and when we don’t, we drag ourselves through hot coals.
Oddly, the cause of even more angst or obsessive thinking than shady deeds, is not what we did, but what we said. Or didn’t say. That is what keeps many of us up nights – replaying conversations, big and small.
Today, I was waiting for my car at a car wash on a hot sunny day, when business was brisk and waits were long. Casual conversation with another car owner waiting for his car revealed that he’d grown up locally but moved away, served in the military, and then lived here and there. We talked about the rising costs, congestions, and frustrations of urban living. We chatted for about 15 minutes, then collected our cars and went our separate ways.
At various times in the conversation, I could have, and should have, thanked him for serving. I didn’t, and the moment passed once, twice, three times.
I kicked myself all the way home.
I’ll never see him again; I don’t even know his name. The best I can do is say here and now, to all who have served for our freedom and laid their lives on the line:
And maybe next time, instead of obsessing for hours, ruminating for days, or lying awake nights, about what I didn’t do, what I didn’t say, I’ll seize the moment when it comes and say whatever needs to be said to the person who needs to hear it, then and there. Stranger, colleague, friend, or family.
I get it.
I appreciate you.
I support you.
I see you.
Let me help.
I love you.