My friend Ramah sent an unsourced quote and it says something I really need to get off my chest today: “Use the nice sheets, burn the candles, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”
I have been reading and re-reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, and hopefully getting better at being here right now instead of prowling the back alleys of the past hunting an old stinking mattress to sleep on or flying away into the arms of an uncertain, contrived tomorrow.
While in this state of consciousness, I received two notes from readers that roused me up to share Ramah’s quote. In the first note, the reader was not buying a personal item she really needs. She said, “I want to leave everything to my kids.”
I had a friend like that. He worked like a firefighter on amphetamines for a half-century while his kids (some “kids” -- in their twenties and thirties) took a decade to finish college and then quit every job as soon as the going got tough. They revised that old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” to read, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going -- it’s getting tough and I’m going.”
He always rescued them when the rent came due. They were constantly hitting some little bump in life’s road requiring another cash infusion from their daddy. Sometimes I wondered how those spoiled adult brats breathed on their own. It reminded me of a wife who once said of her lazy husband, “Larry is very tired tonight. He has been breathing all day.”
This friend poured his life out for three ungrateful full-grown twerps who inherited nothing from him but his money and property. They missed out on all his good stuff, like character and a work ethic. The only sustained energy they have ever put out was to fight each other over what he left.
In the second case a reader told of her need for medical care and said the only thing of value she had was the silverware that had been passed on down to her from her great-grandmother. She went without the medical care. She never used the silverware. She reverently kept it stored away for a rainy day. She had no home insurance. The rainy day came when someone stole it. She did not get to enjoy it all the years she had it and she was never able to turn it into much-needed cash.
People born in hard times are conditioned to commit one of the greatest sins of all: to do so much for their kids that they paralyze their ability to get up, get out, and do for themselves. They have no muscles to handle life’s normal little loads because we have lifted everything for them.
The reasons we defer our joys are not limited to giving up our own life for our offspring and anxiously hiding away our treasures for some future need or calamity but they all add up to one thing: not living right now.
Ramah’s quote reminds us “today is special.” If we live to be a thousand years old, the only time we will be living is right now. It will be “right now” every moment of every day. There is no other time we will be alive.
Every moment we spend in anxious thought of nailing down a safe, sanitary and stress-free future for our kids is a moment we can never recapture and enjoy. Every time we fail to enjoy our possessions is a moment in time gone forever.
I am not advocating non-interest in our adult children but I am saying there comes a time to let our adult children quit being children and start being adults. The thing I am seeing more often than child abuse is parental abuse. To stop it, start living your own life right now.
Click here to order your own copy of
Long John Cardinal--and the Best of Dalton Roberts
for only $4.95, with no charge for shipping and handling.
This material should be treated as copyrighted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the author. It should not be reproduced commercially without permission.