A high school teacher committed suicide a few days ago. He was a favorite teacher of one of my staff members. Almost every freshman had a class with him and there are a lot of hurting and bewildered 14 and 15 year olds in our city today. Sudden death, by suicide or accident, has a lasting effect.
Take the high road.
Sixteen years ago, my mother had a “mild” heart attack. Several days after the attack, she was scheduled for a routine angiogram. I went by the hospital to see her that morning, but had a lunch appointment during the time of the actual procedure. So I hugged her, told her I loved her, and went to my meeting.
The doctor was very honest with her. Usually this occurrence was fatal. Surgery was going to be very risky. They were able to stabilize her, but she needed to see her family quickly, and then they needed to go in and see if they could repair the damage. They waited for me to get there before taking her into surgery.
We told each other goodbye that day. She didn’t expect to live; they couldn’t even give her odds because the surgery was so rare.
As I sat in the waiting room with my family, I thought about a future without her. I thought about the time I had had with her. One of the things that comforted me was the knowledge that my mom knew I loved her. We said those three words every time we talked on the phone or saw each other. And I said it with my actions too. I could sit in the waiting room and not feel guilt or regret about harsh words or hurtful actions.
What I learned from that time was that I did not want to feel guilt or regret if someone died. That may sound simplistic, but that has guided my life ever since. I’m certainly not perfect, and sometimes I slip. But if I say or do something that is hurtful it eats me up until I rectify it.
Acts of Kindness are not for those on the receiving end. They are for you.
Forgiveness of wrongs and hurts is for your benefit. It’s much easier to forgive than to live with guilt and regret for the rest of your life.
If someone is important to you, tell them. Write a note. Call them. Hug them and tell say those three words. I love you.
These last few months in the UBBT I’ve had the concept of self defense redefined for me by Tom Callos and my team members. I get it. I get it that eating right is self defense, as is taking care of the environment and controlling my anger and stress. I get it that Acts of Kindness may be the most basic level of self defense.
Why not develop a new habit. The habit of being aware of the people you interact with and their value to you. And develop the habit of telling them those positive things. Those actions may not be enough to change the course of their life, but I guarantee it can change yours.
I called my mom to get the dates of the heart attacks. I told her I was writing something, and would print it out and bring it to her for Mothers Day this Sunday. As we were hanging up she said “You know, having those two heart attacks were the best thing that ever happened to me. Things that used to make me mad don’t anymore. I just forget about it. It’s not worth it.”
I love my mom.