by Linda Ellis, Copyright 2008, www.lindaellis.net
So, of course, I started to make some changes around that time. Not that I had been living my life as a shrew, but I felt that I could definitely use some positive changes, especially when it occurred to me that I hadn't a clue how much time was in front of me vs. the time I’d already used up. In my mind, I pictured my lifeline as a seesaw with one side representing the years that have passed and the other, those remaining (and the heavy kid was sitting on the side of my past.)
Being unaware of our remaining time is a good thing. That is why we are not born with an expiration date stamped on our forehead. For instance, if at some point, we knew that we had a definite 40 years in front of us, some of us might choose to live in sin and depravity for 39 years and 11 months and then make restitution around mid-December of month 12. However, the mere notion that we don’t know if we have 40 years, 40 minutes or 40 seconds is the basis for the title of this story, Make What’s Left, Right. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Whether you are 19 or 91 reading this article today, you could have the same amount of time remaining on this earth and the same amount of time to take the necessary steps to make what’s left, right. The positive changes you’ve been thinking about making “someday” or those fences you’ve been meaning to mend need to be done now. Don’t put off making worthwhile changes because you expect or anticipate that you have a certain amount of time to follow. This type of procrastination could end with a “too little, too late” result.
It reminds me of “sweeps week” with network television; that period in which viewing figures are calculated for various shows and channels. During these times, networks deliberately bring out new episodes, series and specials in an effort to boost their viewing figures, and therefore, ad revenue.
Keeping this in mind, and expanding on a concept from Ret. Sgt., Marc Turner, the following poem was written:
by Linda Ellis Copyright 2005
Soaked with sweat and filled with fear,
he rose quickly in his bed.
The dream he'd had the night before
was so real inside his head.
Every image and every emotion
the night’s hours left behind
was clear as crystal in his memory,
forever engraved upon his mind.
He could still see his lifeless body,
a silken pillow ‘neath his head,
and what should’ve been a room of mourners
was an empty room instead.
No one to stand, no one to speak,
no words of love, no prayers...
no flowers with cards of sympathy,
just empty tables, empty chairs.
Remembering the details of his dream...
his body cold and all alone
and the realization that nobody came
chilled him to the bone.
He thought, “How could this have happened?
Not one person came to grieve?
Of all the people in my life,
was no one sad to see me leave?
Were all my years a waste of time?
Did my life not have worth?
Were there no hearts or lives I touched?
Did I leave no footprint here on earth?
What could be the reasons why,
nobody cared, nobody came?”
But in his heart, he knew the answer;
he only had himself to blame.
He knew his dream was not reality,
but it made him stop and think;
in the chain of human kindness,
had he been a broken link?
He vowed that day to start anew,
to stop fretting and complaining,
to touch a life and make a difference
with every day he had remaining...
to change the way he lived his life
so that each day would include
an act of kindness, thoughtful deed,
a simple show of gratitude…
to leave a legacy of kindness,
and focus on what’s true and real,
trying always to remember
just how other people feel...
to make these changes happen now...
to show compassion, share a smile,
for tomorrow is never guaranteed
and today is here for just a while.
Hence, when his days have come and gone,
as tears fall and flowers bloom,
a large and mournful crowd will fill
what was once an empty room.
(Concept and Contributions by Marc Turner)