I lost a friend today. I'd known Fay Schoenhals since I was knee-high-to-a-grasshopper at Sunday School. She watched me grow up, bought Girl Scout cookies from me, and even attended my wedding shower. She always talked about her Purple Martins. She had two or three houses in her backyard and they came every year. I have always been a bird nerd and she always invited me to come and observe them. I promised I would, but every time I visited my parent's house I didn't. I never really made excuses, I just didn't go.
Then about three years ago I got serious about writing my book. It was set in the 1930's and I had read a ton of books on the decade, but I wanted to talk to people who had lived it. My parent's suggested I talk to Ester Miller. During the interview Fay showed up to talk to Ester and I was privileged to hear stories from both of their pasts. They shared stories with me about water generators, farm chores, hoedowns and market days. I loved every minute of it. Fay even came by my parent's house later that day to tell me how they used to roller skate. As she left my parents house, she told me how much she had enjoyed our talk and hoped we would do it again soon. I said, "Absolutely" with every intention of fulfilling my promise, but never did.
I regret that I didn't take the time to go see her again. I always put it off till the next visit. After her husband died, I promised myself that I'd go over there and see her, express my condolences, but I didn't. I kept thinking there would be a next visit. And now there will never be a chance for the "next" visit.
You'd think a person who, in her 34 years of life, has lost a little sister, boyfriend, grandparents, along with countless other aunts, uncles and cousins would cling to every opportunity because there may not be another chance to say, "I love you", "thank you", or even a "I'm glad you're my friend."
So I encourage you today to take the opportunity to not only tell your loved ones how you feel, but to visit an elderly neighbor or volunteer at your local shelter or even write that novel you've been dreaming about. You know all those things you put off till tomorrow and don't just do these things because there might not be a tomorrow or because it will make you feel good, but more than likely it'll make somebody else's day. And there is no greater joy than that.