Saturday, October 25, 2008

In the twinkling of an eye...

Earlier this year I had a telephone conversation with a professional associate with whom I am working on a particular project. It was one of those conversations that haunt us, and this one haunts me still and causes me to reflect on life. Even though the conversation was several months ago, it is still relevent.

She is someone who I have known for many years and consider a friend. We served on several committees, the board of a professional society, and now are working together on this project. It was rather urgent that I had her concurrence on a particular issue, so as to not hold up construction. Repeated messages on her office line went unheeded, so I called her cellphone. When she answered I asked if it was ok if we chatted about these issues for a few moments…she said sure. I heard voices in the background and asked if she was in a meeting. She said no, just having chemo.

My heart dropped.

Suddenly, whatever urgency I felt over the issue of the day evaporated. There was an awkward moment and then we briefly talked about it, a cancer that she fought a couple of years ago that seems to have recurred. After discussing the issue we each went our way, yet I could not shake that unsettled feeling that life indeed happens while we make plans and look to the future.

Some years ago, a similar incident involving the death of a close acquaintance caused me to reflect on life which in turn led to a re-evaluation of my own priorities. I decided that life can be brief, and can take turns we never anticipated. Life became something to cherish and there were things I wanted to experience…people I wanted to meet…places I wanted to see. The time for postponing those experiences was past…and I seized the day…and my life. Meeting many of the people through work, though hobbies, in my neighborhood and even in passing have enriched me, and my conversation with my associate reminded me of that lovely aspect of life.

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