I was working with a couple recently who are in the midst of dissolving a long-term relationship. At one point in the conversation, one of them said, “I’m so sad and angry that, with all these years we had together, we just couldn’t get it together…work our stuff out.” There’s many reasons why that often is the case for couples, but I’ve come to see that if you find yourself in that boat, on any level, it’s probably because you’ve been waiting for something.
This handsome Dude you see on the left recently gave me a HUGE reminder of another cost of waiting…for love, for the “right time,” for when you feel “safe” enough, etc. Let me introduce you to Michael Anthony Childress.
Mike has been a friend, a member of one of the Men’s Groups I lead, an extremely accomplished ICU/Critical Care Nurse for over 15 years, an ex-husband, a former football player, a lover of fast cars, an irreverent smart-ass, and an extremely loving Soul who constantly was trying to figure out what this Love thing was all about…’cos it seemed to him that he just couldn’t “figure that s**t out” (to quote Mike directly).
Last Monday, on the 18th, after wondering why Mike hadn’t shown up to our men’s meeting on the 14th, and after having left him several messages, I found out that Mike had died of a sudden massive heart attack 2 days previous to our meeting, at the age of 45. This wonderfully loving man had been laying on his living room floor for several days before being found. I am quite sure it wasn’t in Mike’s plans that day – especially given how hard he worked out every day for years to create a body that was in incredible shape – to be getting ready to go to the gym, and literally drop dead.
In fact, what I imagine was more on Mike’s mind was what he’d do after the workout, what he’d be doing next to find a new nursing job, how he was going to make it back from one of the hardest years of his life. Mike was like a lot of us…in the face of things going badly where they were, his first tendency was to try to out-think the circumstances…to come up with better strategies…to try/work harder at making things work out.
Yet, after the last year of hell he’d been through, he’d had a revelation that I trust and hope allowed him to leave this life happier…he learned that trying to control his life and ignore what his heart was telling him and needing was a s**tty strategy. He learned that the one thing that had been so hard for him – letting people support him and love on him – was what made the biggest difference in turning his life back in the direction of high self-love and a comeback-in-the-making that inspired me and all of us who knew him. This made it all the harder to make sense of him suddenly dying when it all was finally starting to go in the direction he longed for.
So, why am I taking up your precious time having you read about a guy that mattered to me, but you didn’t know from Adam? Because the best way I know to honor my friend is to have his seemingly meaningless death, at such a young age, have meaning beyond what he could’ve imagined. Here’s what I suggest that meaning and value can be for you, as it surely is for me.
You often hear platitudes about making the most of each day, because you never know when it’s going to be your last. You know it’s good advice, but the mind kicks in with its arrogant belief that you’ll be the one to cheat it somehow…or, at least, that you’ll live for decades more. You may be lamenting why you can’t get a relationship to work out…or, how come you can’t seem to feel too excited or inspired with the one you have…with you, your partner, your life.
You might be trying to figure that out…and odds are, you’re waiting for something….for the perfect partner to show up that meets every single thing on your wish list for a lover. Maybe you’re waiting until you get that next promotion, that next pay jump that will give you the extra money you need to be able to finally start creating “The Dream.” Maybe you’re waiting until you get through the next deadline to take your partner and/or your kids on that road trip where you’ll just be able to have fun and connect. Maybe, you’re waiting until your ego-mind assures you you’re absolutly guaranteed enough of being safe that you’ll finally start letting people see – and love – who you REALLY are.
I’m not saying all this to discount the importance and value of getting things done, being in action to create the life you want, etc. What I AM saying this for is to encourage you to re-look at what it’s all for…is what you’re trying to create in your life being driven by the highest priority being survival or to serve love in myriad ways? I just read a survey that says a LOT of people expect to maybe enjoy 10% of their life, and are just passing time until the end, hoping it won’t suck as bad as they fear it could. I don’t know how real that number really is, but what I know from working with so many people over the last 17 years is that it may not be THAT far off….and that breaks my heart and, hopefully, would break yours.
In my opinion, the way to avoid becoming a part of that statistic is to make love your top priority…don’t wait for love to suddenly arrive or for the “perfect” or convenient time to give love to yourself and others…hell, what would your life be like if you found a way, by hook or by crook, to love on someone even when you feel like crap? We KNOW it makes you feel better! Don’t wait until you have time, or convenience, to call the person you just thought of that you haven’t talked with in a long time…if you thought of them out of the blue, it’s because your Spirit knows you need to connect with that person for reasons you don’t know…or, even need to know.
Stop waiting for love and make it…have sex with your partner to heal separation, instead of waiting to not feel separate to get in the mood. Call people. Write someone you love a quick note telling them three things you love about them (or better yet, call them and tell them). Stop what you’re doing and just tell your kids you love them and why. Do the same for yourself.
Don’t be a statistic…be the love that you were born to be and don’t wait. Mike reminded me of that, and I’m joining you in making that the top priority that can guide me – and must – in all that I create and open to.