Small Stories

Story: Do It Now

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In a class I teach adults, I recently did “unforgivable.” I gave the class homework! The assignment was to “go to the person you love within the next week and tell them that you love them. It should be someone who has never said those words before or at least never shared those words with them in a long time.”

Now that doesn’t sound like a very difficult assignment, until you stop to see that most of the men in that group were over 35 years old and raised in a generation of men who were taught that expressing emotions is not “eye-popping.”

Showing emotions or crying (heaven forbid!) Could not be done. So this was a very scary assignment for some.

At the beginning of our next class, I asked if anyone wanted to share what happened when they told someone they loved him. I fully expected one of the women to volunteer, as was often the case, but in the evening one of the men raised his hand. He seemed very moved and trembled a little.

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When he opened his chair (all 6’2), he started by saying, “Dennis, I was very angry with you last week when you gave us this assignment. I never felt I had someone to tell him these words, and other than that, who were you to tell me to do something of my own? But when I started driving home my conscience started to talk to me. It told me that I knew exactly who I needed to say ‘I love you’. You see, five years ago, my dad and I had a serious disagreement and we haven’t resolved since then. However, it was difficult to talk to anyone, so last Tuesday when I got home I was convinced that I would tell my dad that I loved him.
“It’s weird, but just making that decision seems like a daunting task.

“When I got home, I hurried into the house and told my wife what I was going to do. She was already in bed, but I woke her up anyway. When I told her, she just got out of bed, pulled out a catapult and hugged me, and for the first time in our marriage she saw me crying. and we talked.It was fun!

“The next day I woke up bright and woke up in the morning. I was so happy I couldn’t sleep. I arrived at the office early and did more than two hours than I had all day before.

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“At 9:00 am, I phoned my dad to see if he was coming home from work. When he answered the phone, I just said, ‘Dad, can I come home from work tonight? I have something to tell you. ’Dad replied in surprise,‘ Now what? ‘I assured him it wouldn’t take long, so he finally agreed.

“At 5:30 am, I was at my parents’ house ringing the doorbell, praying that my dad would come in the door. I was afraid that if my mother replied that I would take the chicken out, I would tell her instead. But as luck would have it, Dad just answered the door.

“I wasted no time – I took one step to the door and said, ‘Dad, I came here to tell you that I love you.’

“It was as if my father had changed. In front of my eyes her face was soft, wrinkles seemed to disappear and she started to cry. He stretched out his hand and hugged me and said, ‘I love you too, son, but I never could say it.’

“It was a very precious moment and I didn’t want to move. Mother passed away in tears. I just waved at him and kissed him. My father and I hugged for a while and then I left. I had never felt so big in a long time.

“But that is not my point. Two days after that trip, my dad, who had a heart attack but did not tell me, had a seizure and ended up in a hospital. I don’t know if he will be able to come.

“So my message to all of you in this section is: Don’t wait to do things you know need to be done. What if I had been waiting to tell my dad – maybe I would never get another chance! Take the time to do what you need to do and do it now! ”

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