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Tomorrow may never come
              Tomorrow May Never Come...

    With these words and thought in mind, I begin a touching reminder of how fragile this experience called human life actually is. The framework of this article, notwithstanding its date, would suggest a link to the events of September 11, 2001. Indeed this may have been “my final straw.” On the other hand, this topic and my drive to vocalize what I see as a growing problem in this world... a lack of love... has finally been pushed to paper. Having stated this, I am reminded of a counselor I came to know in 1993.
    Beth, an alcohol and drug rehab counselor, related this scenario... “Imagine, if you will, you are told with certainty that you have only 24 hours to live. Who would you choose to be with? Would you call anyone? What would you say? What would you want to do?” Why, she asked, wait? Is anyone guaranteed tomorrow? Invariably, those asked responded they wished to be with family and friends doing things they had “put off.” They wanted to express to each and every one just how much they meant to them, that they loved them.

The follow-up questions really drives home the point, “Why do we all not live and express ourselves in this manner each and every day (as if it were our last)?” If this daily expression of care, concern, interest and love for our family and friends were to take hold and become common place what kind of world would this create? What are the possibilities? Has not this idea been raised before? Do we not have citations and examples of how this would and could be? Many stories have been expressed to this end before in many different ways. Victor Frankl’s account of the atrocities of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany where the conditions for daily life were beyond imagination yet some survived. The accounts reported by Elizabeth Kuber-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying tell of life transformations for individuals experiencing near death/afterlife events. The lives and events alerted to us by Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Visions of the Virgin Mary at Madgagori, Lourdes, and Guadalupe’, as well as much of scripture written thousands of years ago remains the same...love one another today.

Those experiencing loss suffer to a greater or lesser extent emotional distress dependent upon, in most cases, the relationship they had with the loved one and the amount of emotional closeness they felt and expressed with them recently. The longing, wish and/or desire to have said just one more “thing” can be overwhelming pain. A pain described by many as almost too much to bear. A pain that often sends people into deep depression or in some instances death (usually when partners have been together for a full lifetime).

For centuries, books and philosophers have cited the benefits of prayer, belief and faith in an Omnipotent God as the way to find inner peace due to loss of any kind...especially due to death. Comforted by an eternal life, this faith of reuniting with loved ones in the hereafter continues to aid in providing peace to those who suffer in these times of pain. How much suffering, pain, and anguish are we willing to tolerate before we look for a new solution? A solution that will do more than avoid emotional and physical distress and actually create an even greater level of joy daily for everyone. Can we find this solution? I assert we can.

    Recently, I watched CNN’s Larry King program. This particular evening he had an interview of a woman whose boyfriend had been in the WTC on 9/11/01. She recounted their relationship and how it had been clouded by her past loss of love. Her story pointed to her ‘awakening’ while in Hawaii attending a Tony Robbins lecture where he stated...a person cannot fully live in the present if they are chained to their past. This woman had lived her present through the experience of her past thus limiting her ability to feel and share the joy of today. Striking how true it is that when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

How many of us lived chained painfully to our past? How is it we can believe that this pain can assist us in the present? We don’t really. We deny we are chained. We minimize and excuse these feelings and silently find ways to maintain their continuance due to ignorance, fear and often with a sense that “this is my cross to bear.” This “martyrdom condition” is common. Many of us experienced times when we harbored some resentment with someone we care about. They did or said something that hurt us at some level. This resentment can fester within us at some level awaiting, like a sludge buildup in a drainpipe, major work later. This build up, sited by many a physician including Dean Ornish, Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil to name a few, can and often does lead to heart disease among other forms of stress related illness. The “sludge” per se can be removed by beginning to live fully today. Allowing those we care and love to know this today! They will know this because we open our mouths and say the words, move our hands and feet to demonstrate by action, and in this change, experience the creativity that comes for new ways to say and novel ways to show, daily...I love and value you in my life.

    Let us begin today to practice how, like others have already indicated, we can live each and every day more fulfilled, more satisfied and joyful. It is the relationships we have in this life, not the things we possess, that make living: a life worth living. Let those that matter know that they do today...tomorrow may never come...

By: Michael J. Luley, M. Ed., LPC First published 11/01, in the Standard a publication for staff and offenders at Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center in Fulton, MO. Also published in The New Walls Journal 10/05, a Jefferson City Correctional Center staff and offender publication at Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferson City, MO.
Copyright 2005 Michael J Luley, M.Ed., LPC, QSAP. All rights reserved.
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