Nov 12, 2010

Better Now than Never

Patricia "Patsy" Saliba, July 30, 1945-January 22, 2005

The card was long overdue. Aunt Patsy, my mother's sister, had been faithfully supporting my drama team, REAL Christian Theater, for years sending a check for a couple hundred dollars every year. Of course, I'd sent her the same courteous thank you letter that I sent to all our donors, but I'd known for some time that Aunt Patsy deserved more. Not only that but I wanted to say something more personal. After all, if anyone had an excuse to beg off sending money for my little mission project it was Aunt Patsy. "Sorry, all my time and financial resources are devoted to fighting the cancer that is threatening my life" would have been an absolutely respectable and understandable response. In fact, I'm a little embarrased that I even put her on my list of potential donors so many years before. I should have realized that hitting up your cancer-stricken aunt for money is a little insensitive to say the least. But I did it, and Aunt Patsy responded year after year with quiet generosity. We'd never really talked about it, indeed ours was not the sort of relationship where we shared regular heart-to-hearts--which made her gift all the more remarkable. I guess it was her way of saying "I like what you're doing Sean." Perhaps it was her way of showing her love for me.

All I knew in the winter of 2005 was that it was high time I let Aunt Patsy know how much her support meant to me, and more than that, how much she meant to me. Better late than never, right?

Wrong. Because when Aunt Patsy died in January of 2005, that card had been written but was languishing in my briefcase waiting for a stamp and for me to find a free moment to run to the post office. It turned out late was not better after all--it had become never, suddenly and without warning.

On receiving the news, I hopped on the first flight I could get out of Saipan, flew over the great Pacific, across the United States, and back home to Florida to join my family in saying goodbye to Aunt Patsy. Amid tears of regret and grief, I handed the belated card to my cousin Yvette--Aunt Patsy's youngest child--at the viewing. While I'm sure Yvette appreciated the gesture, it's always left me deeply sad that Aunt Patsy never got to hear from me the words of appreciation and love that I had intended to share with her.

More than five years have passed since Aunt Patsy passed away, and once again I have the opportunity to honor my aunt. Once again I have the chance to do something that shows that I appreciate and love her. Yvette has decided to run a half-marathon in honor of her mother, and I've decided to run it with her. Yvette is running to raise funds to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an organization that funds the fight against blood cancers, including multiple myeloma, the cancer that Aunt Patsy had. I want to support her in her effort, so I'm inviting all of my readers to support me by supporting her. Click on this link to Yvette's training blog to donate towards her goal of raising $2,900.

Of course, you all know I love to run, but this race is truly not about me. For one thing, it is scheduled for February 27--the dead of winter. I would typically prefer to run later in the year when I can train outdoors when it's warmer. As it is, I will be looking for ways to train indoors as the weather grows colder. Secondly, I'll be running in the Disney's Princess Half-Marathon, a run that requires you to choose the Disney princess that inspires you the most. The Disney Princess is geared towards women and though men are allowed to run, they must start in a later corral and are not eligible for any awards. I imagine Aunt Patsy would have a good chuckle at the thought of me, a lonely male among a sea of women, running with a Disney princess plastered to my chest. But I'd like to think she'd appreciate the thought as well. And I know she'd appreciate that the funds that her daughter and I raise will go towards helping another mother maybe stay in the fight a little longer, help another aunt maybe even win the battle she lost.

I suppose I could always run another race in a warmer time of year with a more manly theme. But then again, maybe I couldn't. If there was one thing I learned through the loss of my aunt, it's that now is the time.

Now is the time to write that card to that aunt or grandma or uncle or mom or sister or grandpa, put a stamp on it and get it in the mail today. Or better yet deliver it with a hug, in person.

Now is the time to make that phone call.

Now is that the time to write that check.

Now is the time to tell your husband or your wife that you love them.

When your little one says "Play Daddy, play" now is the time to close the laptop and play with him!

Now is the time to take that trip you've never gotten around to taking.

Now is the time to pray that prayer you've always meant to pray.

Now is the time to mend fences, to restore that broken friendship.

Now is the time to live your life and love with all your heart.

The scriptures tell us that "there is an appointed time for everything."

I'm telling you, that for the things that truly matter, that time is now.

Because later may be too late.

Because it's better now than never.


Dawn said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sean, thank you. Tears came to my eyes reading your post. I'm really slow, and if you don't mind run/walking with Carrie and I, I'd really like to cross the finish line with you.

Thank you,

Mai said...

Let me take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate your friendship! I look forward to seeing you soon! :)

And I also thing it's great that you're running the Princess race to help honour your aunt! I look forward to hearing all about how it goes!