Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Don't Blink

Tonight the sunset over the North Dallas, TX area was so achingly beautiful that I could hardly remember why I was standing outside in my slippers with a piece of salmon about to slide through my fingers.

Blink, and you missed it.

Last night I was out of bed at 3:40 to help our daughter find a treasured stuffed flamingo and settle back to sleep. We don't normally indulge these requests but sometimes daddy has to be a hero. When I went to tuck her in, she looked at me with a half shrug and left the question unasked. I curled up next to her and rocked her back to sleep.

Blink, and you missed it.

Twenty years ago I met my Great Uncle Harry, the subject of much family lore and a man utterly unknown to me; I was a hurry-up college kid in California and he an octogenarian retired lawyer in Chicago. I spent exactly two hours in his presence, loved him instantly like a grandfather, and never exchanged another word with him.

One afternoon I pulled from my mailbox a plain white envelope and knew instantly it was Uncle Harry's obituary. I sat on my bed with this strip of the Tribune and wept. What I wept for of course was the letters I never wrote, the calls I never made, the flights I never took to sit with Uncle Harry in the small courtyard of his northside apartment building.

Who or what can you connect with today, right now, with a grateful heart? Do it. The opportunity is here.

Blink, and you'll miss it.