Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Final Chance

Many years ago, when I first moved to the States, I met a woman with two young sons who lived in the apartment next to mine. We soon became friends, and when she was home from work we often got together for coffee, and chatted about different things. One day, she told me a story that remained with me throughout the years.

She and her husband had gotten into an argument, and they had gone to bed angry at each other. The next morning, she heard his alarm clock, but pretended to be asleep – she was still angry and refused to speak to him before he left. The husband went to work – he was a truck driver – and she slowly got up, and got ready to leave the house to go to her own job.

He called her a couple of hours later, tried to make small talk, and told her he loved her, but since she was still angry, she coldly told him she was busy and quickly hung up the phone. The phone rang again, and assuming it was still her husband, she chose not to answer. After a few rings, the line went silent.

That night she stopped by the grocery store on her way home, and lingered a while before going to pick up her two children from her sister’s house – she wasn’t ready to argue again, but was still steamed enough from the previous night to feel edgy at the thought of seeing her husband. It was a cold, rainy night in January, and she knew the children were hungry and tired, so she reluctantly drove home.

When she pulled into her driveway she was surprised to see the house completely dark, but it was even stranger that her husband’s truck wasn’t in the driveway. He was a creature of habit, and he was home by five every day. She and the children walked in and she started the usual routines. While she cooked, she replayed in her mind the argument she and her husband had the night before; by then, time had defused a bit of her anger and she felt calmer. She figured they would make up and forget once he got home.

When the doorbell rang, she opened the door and was ready to say she was sorry, but her words froze in her mouth as she laid eyes on the two police officers standing in front of her. They informed her that her husband had been in an accident. A car had skidded off the road and had headed directly toward his truck; to avoid the car he had turned sharply and had lost control of his vehicle, dying on impact.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Just as much as we don’t need to live in fear, we also don’t need to take everything for granted. Please watch this beautiful video, , and see how important it is to acknowledge and forgive others, even if our differences seem insurmountable.

A bruised ego can cause some discomfort. Regret certainly causes more.

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