“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” ~ Stephen Levine …
At this very moment, we all have someone who we need to express our love and affection to, share our forgiveness and compassion with, or perhaps just let know how much we care. For many of us, this one phone call would be to someone whom we love, someone close to us such as a spouse, soul mate, or significant other. For others, it might be someone we have not talked to in years or fell out of contact with, perhaps a close family member that we fought with years ago and are not on speaking terms anymore, yet wish to find closure with. And yet regardless of who we might wish to call, Stephen’s words bring up one of the most important questions that we can ever ask ourselves: what words remain unsaid between us and those individuals in our lives that we love most dearly? And for what possible reason does it remain unsaid? Is it anger, pride, or jealousy? Or possibly fear, uncertainty, or principle? Perhaps it is something as simple as assuming that the other person already knows what we would say, or that we are waiting for them to say it first.
The first time I heard of this saying, it moved me in a powerful way. I was a new father, and a lot of changes were going on in my life–changes that made it easy to get caught up in my own personal issues and feelings. I found that thinking about what I was not saying to those I love, that I needed to say, was a wonderful reminder of the importance of family and loved ones in my life, and helped me to regain my perspective. Even today, it still has the ability to move me in very powerful ways–to remind me to share my feelings and emotions, to be there for those who are most important to me and to allow them to be there for me, and to immerse myself in the bonds of humanity we all share.
When we are confronted with our own mortality and the thought of impending death, and we are challenged to think of one person we wish to speak with before that time, we are offered a beautiful sense of clarity. Such questions force us to think of examine our lives and our relationships in much simpler ways than we otherwise tend to do, and add a sense of urgency that squashes any excuse we may have embraced towards keeping things left unsaid–anger, fear, pride, jealousy, or even the possibility of being ridiculed or misunderstood.
We have the power to change lives with words of kindness, compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy, and friendship, but we have to be willing to speak such words. In addition, not a single one of us knows if we will have the opportunity to say the things that need saying tomorrow. And so, a single phone call, could perhaps be the most important one we will ever make–not just for us, but also for the recipient of our call. And what if we could do the same thing each month, or as often as necessary? How might our lives change?
Reach out to someone with whom you have something positive that needs to be said.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people leave things unsaid forever, until it’s far too late to say them? Do you want to be one of those people?
Whom could you call right now with a message to brighten up that person’s life in a small way?
Why do we so often think that sharing important ideas is risky? What are we afraid of?
For further thought:
“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.” ~ Joan Baez, Daybreak