I was listening to Jim Tressel’s weekly press conference last week when they asked him his thoughts on the Stafon Johnson incident earlier in the week. The young man had been involved in a freak accident in the weight room and had dropped 275 pounds on his throat while bench pressing. Thankfully, he is projected to make a full recovery. Well, Coach Tressel thought for a moment and then said the most profound thing I had heard in some time, “It shows us that there are no insignificant moments.” I was glad (and not at all surprised) that Coach Tressel had taken this opportunity to expand the conversation far beyond football. He turned the conversation into one about all of us and shared something we all can and should think about.
I am also quite certain this hit me a bit harder due to an event that had happened that same week in my small corner of the world. A young lady who had graduated in 2008 from the high school my kids attend had lost her life in a car accident. She was life-flighted to the hospital where they operated for her internal injuries but the injuries to her head were to severe and it was determined that she would never recover. The family prayed and determined that if it was God’s will for the young lady to survive, she would do so without the aid of machines. They also honored her wishes to be an organ donor and she gave the gift of life to 8 people that day. We returned tonight from calling hours and I was touched by the number of people standing in line to offer their condolences to the family and to each other. The most profound scenes were the young people consoling each other, sharing stories, and trying to laugh through their tears. This young woman touched so many people with her smile and uplifting outlook on live. She most definitely added to anyone’s life she can in contact with. A counselor from her college said she had the kind of smile that made you smile back.
I read somewhere once that human beings cannot recall pain after the event. We can remember that it did not feel good but we cannot recall the intense agony that accompanies a sprained ankle, broken finger, or a broken heart. This is obviously a good thing because if we could, we might limit ourselves to only those things that are safe and that would be a miserable life.
The one thing we can do is make sure that we do not allow “stuff” to get in the way of our lives. We can’t become so pre-occupied with bills, appointments, work, etc. that we forget that the quality of our lives will be directly proportional to the quality of our relationships. As I write this, I could provide a very personal example of how worries about finances and my job search have adversely affected my relationship with my wife. I have allowed my focus to move away from continuing to nurture my relationship with the lovely woman I have shared the last 19 years with to fault-finding and nit-picking about insignificant issues.
We cannot allow this to happen. There is a friend of mine that has shared the following story in our men’s group. He was talking to his dad on the phone one evening about selling some raffle tickets and closed the conversation with “I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow.” Those were the last words he said to his dad as he died of a heart attack during the night. I am not proposing that we treat every moment as if it were our last as that would not be practical. I am asking you all to think about how you do things more so than what you do. To put it simply – where ever you are, be all there. Honor those you with by giving them your full attention and really engaging. Make each person feel like they are the only person in the room. Isn’t that the least we can do?
Remember, what may seem unimportant to you may mean the world to someone else.