A few weeks ago a far-away friend reminded me of the importance of keeping in touch with those who mean the most to us but whose paths no longer naturally cross ours.
She was speaking from her heart after having just learned that a dear friend, a near-family member, had died a few days earlier. She went on to describe the details that were most important to her about who he was and how he had made her feel. She recalled her precious memories of him and how she planned to spend time that evening listening to his favorite music. She also spoke of her regret.
“(I) completely regret not having picked up the phone to touch base with him in the last year or so the times it crossed my mind and heart.”
Let’s not kid ourselves, we lead busy lives and it’s hard to get done all the things we need to do, let alone find time to do all the things we’d like to do. It’s a luxury to take a break and do nothing except recharge our batteries.
I don’t have any answers for how to get more done in less time. We all should take a hard look at our scheduled lives and question our choices and priorities, but even so, life is a series of trade-offs. We can hardly trade off taking a sick dog to the vet for a heartfelt chat with an old friend.
Living without regret does not mean trying to squeeze more into our already jam-packed lives. What we can do is make the most of our opportunities when we do have time to get together with those who are important to us, whether in person, by telephone or by computer.
Making the most of the opportunities we do have requires us to choose to be present in the moment. We are present when we remember to:
- Be fully with someone when we are together, without distractions that keep us from listening
- Resolve conflicts in ways that keep them from recurring
- Seek clarity in our communications so that we understand each other
- Notice and appreciate what the other does
- Look for opportunities to gain new perspectives or experience new activities
- Recognize that every encounter is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and build a memory
By her account, my friend spent their time together well.
It is our nature to mourn the loss of someone we love and the end of the relationship.
When we make the most of our relationships while we have the chance, we can cherish our memories and feel satisfied we did all we could. That’s all we have any right to expect from ourselves.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: We all have at least one person in our lives that we have not seen or talked to in a while. This week I am visiting with two friends on different evenings. While we are together, I will do my best to make the most of the opportunity to be present in the moment. What about you? Who will you reach out to by telephone or in person to renew your connection and strengthen your relationship?