Life always takes the time to remind us we don’t have forever. That is why it is so important to love who we are inside because tomorrow won’t remember us if we don’t take the time to smile today.
It was a still moment on a simple day. I was a bit grumpy on that particular morning, barely saying a good morning to co-workers as I sat down at my desk to begin another eight hours of the same routine. As I looked up at my computer monitor, the first thing I saw was an email from my friend Michael. I clicked it open and what I remember most as I read were the cloudy skies outside the window as I turned to my left. I remember that moment of hesitation as my mind took the time to catch up to my heart as I read the words:
“I have something to tell you”.
My heart started beating fast as my eyes scurried to find out the news. He mentioned that an acquaintance had passed away. I was a little relieved but it was shocking news because it was someone who I saw frequently in the gay scene and someone I didn’t even know was sick. This person was one of those individuals I took for granted but at the same time someone I found amusing. It gave me sadness because I didn’t take the time to get to know him. I guess I figured I had time. I thought I had forever to get to know the true meaning behind his eyes and the true definition of his heart that usually stayed hidden behind a wide smile and multiple wise cracks. There were so many of those little things – from a nickname he called himself to the constant joking around he always did – that I grew to appreciate and miss. After finding my mind stranded inside a few minutes that seemed like hours, I deleted the email and realized what’s here today can be gone tomorrow.
It is evident in all walks of life. We spend so much time being angry at someone or so much time hating someone for who they are that we lose touch of the importance of every single person who enters our life. We know this and we remind ourselves all the time but how often do we really take the time to breathe and just enjoy what is around us. We often mark off our calendars or rush through our weeks to get to the weekend. Before we know it something has happened to someone else that makes us stop and say “damn!”
As I talked to and got to know a few older men who lived during the 80’s who have lost friends and acquaintance because of AIDS, I realized there wasn’t the same amount of prevention or education back then as we have today. I’ve been lucky so far not to have experienced as much loss as they have. But the email I found in my email that morning made me think and made me realize that consequences are real. There is no tomorrow if we don’t embrace our now.
Every day that we turn the ignition to our cars or take a walk there is a risk. We don’t have much control over most things that happen around us. This guy that I knew was probably looking forward to a next birthday or a holiday or simply the next day and never got to see it. It really made me look at myself and how I treated others online and in real life. Online we can get carried away because we don’t really know the people we interact with and the same goes for people we rarely know in our daily lives. We don’t really know what a person is going through or has been through in their lives and we take for granted how our words can affect someone.
There is no guarantee of a tomorrow; there is no guarantee of a change to apologize or understand a person’s differences. Because of that experience and experiencing daily the fight for the equality of respect, I strive to be that voice remembering those who didn’t get the chance to fulfill their lives. Whether they were taken from this world due to illness or took their own lives do to bullying or the pressure from constant judgment, some of those people never got the chance to experience the feeling of acceptance.
There are times life teaches us to open our eyes and celebrate the vision of living.