Last night at exactly 9:46 PM, my iPhone dinged. It wasn’t my son’s notification tone so I didn’t move immediately, but I also recognized the time and knew that it was a little late for my friends to be writing since we’re all in wind-down mode around that time. I glanced over and noticed that it was a “virtual turned real-life” friend. When I realized who it was, though, I became nervous because the woman writing me lives in New York. I have a lot of friends in New York, 99% of whom started as virtual friends, but have come to occupy places in my heart as real-life friends. She should have been asleep because she takes the train in the early morning hours to get to work.
I was a little shaky when I picked up the phone to read her message and within seconds, my heart had completely dropped. She had just seen a post on Facebook with the time and details of funeral services for another friend that we’d “met” online. It took me a minute to absorb what I had just read, but before I responded to her, I went over to Facebook to see it myself. I needed to see it for myself. There it was.
I knew that our friend had breast cancer and I knew that she had been fighting it for years. She last posted on my wall for my birthday back in November and I had seen a post or two from her, here and there over the next month or so. I assumed she was still in remission. She was not. It’s impossible to fully know a person, especially online, but you could just tell she was a sweetheart. Cancer has taken another sweet soul.
As I do quite often, I reminded the people on my own Facebook friend list that our time here is short. I don’t wait until someone passes, but when they do, I take the opportunity to let people know that we never have as much time as we think we do. In the same vein, though, I believe we are left here just long enough to fulfill our purpose. After seeing my post about my friend’s death, another friend that I met online who has become like a brother to me wrote and told me that very thing — people leave when they have done what they need to do.
I urge you to do what you know you need to do. Whether it’s something as far-reaching as joining a mission and traveling abroad to feed the hungry or something as close to home as delivering meals to the elderly, DO IT! If you don’t know what your purpose or calling is, figure out what it is and get to it.
What you need to do may also involve making amends for some foolish shenanigans you were involved in. Maybe you split someone’s heart in two. Maybe you have some business issues that need to be tied up. Maybe you just need to seek someone’s forgiveness. Whatever it is, get to it.
I know exactly what I was left here to do. I will always, always, ALWAYS be a student of life, but I know for a fact that my life experiences make me a great teacher. I have a story to tell. Not very much of it is pretty, but it’s my story to tell. I know what it means to be belittled by your husband. I know first-hand about the confusion that comes after spousal rape. I know what it means to be battered so badly mentally and emotionally that the sound of that doorknob turning causes you to hyperventilate. I know what it means to be the one left after being the one who was abused. I have stuff to say. I have a testimony to share.
I don’t know when my time here will be up so mine is to get to the business of telling my story. I haven’t been as consistent as I need to be in blogging. I haven’t gotten the ball rolling on my speaking career. My vow is correct those things. I believe I survived an aneurysm that was the result of an abusive marriage so that I can provide a visual picture of the fact that there’s life after abuse.
Whatever you do in life, do it on purpose. Do it with purpose. Time is borrowed. One day, you’re going to have to give it back.