This shot was taken in Genting, Malaysia two Saturday afternoons ago where my parents, in-laws, The Hubs and I gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year. Hours later, we found ourselves hurtling down the winding mountain road in a sad excuse of an ambulance as we rushed my father in law to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of the night. We spent an agonizing six hours in the emergency room as we helplessly watched him fight to breathe and witnessed first hand how incompetence and poorly maintained equipment in a hospital could easily cost someone their life. My heart ached as The Hubs broke down in tears when he almost lost his father twice that night. Through God’s grace, we all survived, and the father in law is now safely at home, and in good health.
You don’t walk out of a night like that without having it stir up all kinds of emotions within you. That night left a clear message: Treasure the ones you love. Live for today.
Cherish the ones you love. How many times have we heard this? We all know it. But it’s so easy to take each other for granted in the busyness of life. We’re human. We forget. Life takes over. One of the most powerful things The Hubs told me last week was that had he had to say goodbye to his dad that night, he had no regrets. Wow. And then I thought about the amount of effort that made it possible. The Hubs drives his dad from dialysis, and sometimes takes him out for lunch after, every week. And this is on top of weekly family dinners with his parents and annual holidays. These things don’t happen by accident. It’s not easy. And making time for family isn’t always fun. But we make choices on how we want to spend our time, because in the end, it does count.
I was giddy with joy when we finally landed back home. Yay, mission accomplished. High-fives all around. Then, it suddenly hit me – we are all on borrowed time. Every single one of us. And we will all have to say goodbye someday. Hopefully under circumstances less traumatic than in an emergency room but that day will come. We don’t know when, and I don’t think we’ll ever be fully prepared. But I suppose this is what makes life precious. Life by itself, is meaningless. If we just drift along, it’s basically rinse, wash, repeat. If we want life to be meaningful, then we have to make it count. When it’s time for me to say goodbye, I want tears mixed with joy. The tears would mean that I meant something to someone, and the joy for a life well-lived.
Laugh, play, love, forgive. Don’t wait for tomorrow to wear that special dress. Because the cliches are all true. Tomorrow may never come.