Thursday, September 20, 2012

If Tomorrow Never Came?

In my research for this blog, I invited some of my closest friends and sisters to join me for dinner at one of our favorite restaurant.  As we all sat there buttering our slices of carrot raisin bread, I couldn’t put off my excitement for why I had asked them there. “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?”   Obviously confused, since I’m sure they assumed they had been asked out simply to enjoy a breezy night away from the kids, the ladies took a minute to register what I had just asked them.  Knowing me, these women understood that I wanted them to consider my question fully, and honestly, and to a degree that would require more thought than the answer to the typical, “What are your plans this Saturday?”  It wasn’t until the leftovers had been boxed that the women, who were now stabbing at the few remaining crumbs of cheesecake, began graciously answering my question.  The lengthy time it took for them to answer made realize how deeply personal and profound this question was- since each answer had so little to do with the answer of the woman sitting next to her.  But there was a common thread woven throughout the table that night, and it was the fact that every person who has ever lived has their own answer to this question.  Some of what we learn throughout our mortal journey is as unique to us as our DNA, and yet there are some lessons that generally apply, even among the differences between gender, geography, race, religion, and education.  These themes are recurring and, if understood and mastered, have the potential of making life more fulfilling and deeper-lived.  It’s a shame there isn’t a master volume of all of the lessons ever learned, with practical and all encompassing advice dripping from every chapter.

Wouldn't that be nice?
Maybe it’s because I’ve become a mother, that I have this unyielding need to share the knowledge I’ve picked up so far.  I think this sense of obligation is actually a trait, one that remained recessive until the moment I endured childbirth and the doctor first laid my daughter across my swollen abdomen.  This so called parenthood trait has forced me to soberly stare down mortality with an acute awareness of all that could go wrong in any and every situation.  My near constant anxiety is saddled with the understanding and acceptance that I can’t ever know when my time on this earth will end.  That’s true for everyone.  It is impossible to walk through a cemetery without reverent curiosity for what those people would have said or done if they had known they were dying.  Part of the reason I’m writing this is because I never want my children to wonder what I would have said to them, or how I would have expected them to conduct their lives, if I were no longer around to personally give them guidance.  As their mother, it is my divinely commissioned job to make sure my leadership and love echo through my children’s minds as they trudge along their paths in life, whether or not I’m still physically walking those paths with them.  I am also writing this as a reminder to myself, and to anyone reading it that we have been given these bodies to experience a life that is worth something, a life that is worth sharing.  This blog will be a compilation of many, not all, of the lessons I’ve been taught and those lessons I will continue to learn through my own experiences, and through those of my parents, friends, and by mentors- whose wisdom is vastly and incomparably beyond my own.  And I'm not just talking the "big" stuff.  Of course I want my babies to know that I love them, and how strong my testimony is, and the values of being honest and good people.  But If I were to die tomorrow, I'd also want my children to know how to choose a ripe cantaloupe, and what hotel they should stay if they were to ever travel to Milan, and which cream works best on mosquito bites, and how to skip rocks!  You will never catch me claiming to have personally mastered even one of these lessons, but I do promise to share my experiences as I try. 

So I have a favor to ask of you.

Pretty please?
Look beyond the morbidity of this question, and please share with me the most valuable lesson you've learned so far.  If tomorrow never came, what would you want your loved ones to know?  (Besides, "I love you."  That's a given.) 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!



  1. I don't have anything to share right now but I am looking forward to the answers. I've also been wanting to "interview" people lately (An idea I am sure I've picked up from my mom). Depression, anxiety and other such things leave me wanting to be taught how to live life. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I really like you're question, Janet. I'm pondering my answer at this moment... I think my big message to the world is something that I still struggle with personally. That is: Never apologize for who you are. That's it in a nutshell. What I mean by that is that all people should be able to express themselves and not be ridiculed for it. That they can be themselves and act how they feel is best and have others simply celebrate it and accept their differing opinions as exactly that. No one needs to apologize for being themselves. I have so many really good friends who still do this, and I sometimes catch myself doing it. I'll say I'm sorry for telling them about something, when I only mentioned it as part of my personal conviction to always tell the truth. Or I'll apologize that the apartment isn't perfectly clean, even though I'm definitely not a "neat as a pin" person and my apartment will never be perfectly clean. I guess then my message is one of acceptance of all people, even when it's hard. Without apologies, without judgement, without provocation. Simply acceptance.

  3. Awesome Michelle! Thank you so much for sharing. That is a give-me-goose-bumps reply. I couldn't agree more with it all. :)