I found an old Facebook note I wrote a few years ago and I thought I’d share it today. Words are failing me lately so I’ll defer to my 23 year old self in the hope that you will learn from her. I certainly need to.
” There is a silence that screams. It is man made, created to make us feel better about ourselves. Yet instead of comforting, it screams of our insecurity. I am a master craftsman of that screaming silence.
It seems almost comical to me: the way I treat is not the way I would like to be treated. Isn’t that the human condition? There is a bad taste in my mouth left there by words too sweet, too elevated, too self serving to utter.
“When you and I say goodbye before you get on that plane it could be the last time we see each other before heaven.”
He is slow, deliberate, calculated in his movements if only to fit more of them into the day. Yet his words are not thought out or comforting. I tried to look at him through my sunglasses but I could only steal glances every few seconds. This was the moment. I knew what I should do. I could even imagine what would happen. I would take his hand, put my head on his shoulder, say some bible verse. I would tell him how much I cherish him, love him. I would take advantage of the vulnerability shown by a man who had fought wars.
Oh yes, I can weave a lovely sorry based on what I should have done but that is not the truth. As hard as it is for me to admit, I walked on paying more attention to the dog than to the old man behind me.
I will forever store this moment in the filing cabinet labeled “wasted.” Life and death are in the power of the tongue, as we are often told, and I did not have the courage to invoke either.
I think we should more often be told of the power of our choices. I chose undeniably wrong yesterday. I knew it when I saw his tears. I knew it before he made that observation. I knew the choice I would have to make even before it was presented to me. Two roads diverged and I chose poorly. And that had made all the difference.
Fight or flight? I taste those unsaid words even today. I feel that unheld hand in mine. But what good is all of that right now? This moment is meant for something else just as they moment was meant for him. But I chose to ignore, retreat, cower in the fave of vulnerability.
There is a lesson in all of this that I will spend my whole life trying to learn.”