For days now, I’ve wanted to write a post about the ways I’ve changed since Cindy passed away, but I could never make the words come out quite right. Each time I would try, my mind would keep adding to the list of things I wanted to cover. Soon, I would get frustrated and put the task on the back burner to pick up another day.
Finally, on my drive to work yesterday morning, I realized the reason why: I’m not only a changed individual; I’m a brand new individual. Yes, I still look pretty much the same and still tell the same bad jokes, but at my core, where it really matters, I’m a brand new man.
MY PERCEPTION OF MYSELF WAS AN ILLUSION
For my entire life, I thought I had a pretty good idea of exactly who I was. I was wrong. My perception of myself was the product of things I’d been told throughout my life and habits I had fallen into.
On the day when Cindy died and I was forced to face the “Holy Crap! LIfe is really short!” moment, all of those faithfully-held notions and faulty mental “selfies,” flew right out the window. Things that used to be extremely important to the old Tim don’t even make the new Tim’s radar. Other things that bring the new Tim joy, would have gone unnoticed by the former incarnation of me.
I used to be obsessed with the idea of building businesses and would often start a project with the profit motive in mind. Now, I would rather spend my time doing things I love and, if it makes a dime or a dollar, BONUS!
There was a time when I would ride to work, because I hated to drive to the point that I had developed a nearly crippling fear of it. Now, I have to drive. I have no choice. Back then, even as a passenger, I barely noticed my surroundings. Now, I soak them all in.
The other day, on my way to work, I drove past the golf course. The groundskeepers had just finished mowing the grass. The sweet aroma of freshly cut grass was heavy in the air. I love that smell. It put me in the best mood for the entire day. In fact, I’ve found a reason to be in a really great mood pretty much every day this week. It’s a blessing.
I’ve always enjoyed telling people positive things and letting them know that I love and appreciate them, but I could also be quick to anger and it was not uncommon for me to, sometimes, use very unkind words. These days, I still tell people how important they are, but my temper is greatly diminished. It’s not non-existent, but it’s close. I never thought I would ever see the day when I was truly slow to anger.
L-O-V-E IS THE SWEETEST FOUR LETTER WORD!
I love to tell people that I love them. Is that strange? Maybe so, but I don’t really care. I have no desire to save my kind words for someone’s eulogy. What’s the point in that? Everyone needs love and everyone needs to give love. This being so, why are we so darn shy about doing it? I don’t get it.
Listen, I’m not going to be here for ever and neither are you. Let’s love one another with the time we have available.
LOVE MAKES YOU SEE PEOPLE AS PEOPLE, NOT STEREOTYPES
This revelation threw me for a loop. Let me share a story.
Let me preface this by saying that I have a Christian love in my heart for everybody. It’s not based on your race, nationality, color, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation or anything else like that. Still, I apparently have some biases that hit home recently.
The other day, I was driving to Deborah’s house and I missed my turn, thus causing me to take an unfamiliar route. While trying to get back on course, I came to a red light. On the sidewalk by my car I saw a young black man dressed in a football jacket and jeans that were hanging down too low. This young man looked like the stereotypical thug, down to the strut in his step. Instantly, my “shields” came up. I watched him as he walked by.
As he walked by, I looked at his face. I mean, I really looked at it. I studied it for the few moments I had. What I saw was a fellow human being who was obviously upset by something. He looked visibly upset. My heart started going out to him. It was in that moment that my preconceived notion of him was shattered. Was he a gang member? He could have been. I’ll probably never know. What I do know is that he is a human being with dreams, hopes, desires, feelings, hurts, and joys.
That simple event would likely have gone unnoticed by the old me, but it made a lasting impression on the new me.
I LIKE THE NEW ME
I haven’t always liked me very much. In the past, my humor was more of a defensive mechanism than an attempt at being entertaining. It probably still is, but to a much lesser degree. I really like this new me. He is someone I would like to hang around. That’s a good thing since we spend all our time together.
This article may not make a lot of sense to some, but it was one that was laying heavy on my heart so I wanted to share it. I hope it resonates with someone and that it blesses you too.
Remember, it’s never too late to cast away those long-held notions and meet the real you too.