Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don’t Wait


I was having a tough week.
It culminated in a rough day.
My husband came home with a dozen red roses.

We stood in the entryway and kissed like we kissed when we were eighteen and just falling in love, the way we have kissed on a daily basis for the eight years since.

As I put the flowers in water and set them on the dinner table while I finished pan-frying some tilapia, he told me a story about what happened when he was buying them.

“The sales guy told me, ‘You’ve been in the doghouse too long. I hope they work.’”
“What?” I asked.
Brian shrugged. “I told him I wasn’t in the doghouse as far as I knew.”

Why do we wait for these things?

Why do men wait for doghouse days to give flowers to their brides?
Why do women wait for roses to kiss their husbands like they’re eighteen again?
Why do we wait for a spilled juice cup before turning our coveted attention to a child?
Why do we wait until a loved but oft-neglected grandparent is on death’s doorstep and too sick to chat and share a meal before we buy the plane tickets to visit?

Why? Why? Why? Why do we wait until things are bad or better or otherwise remarkable, before we do what we should have done all along?

In the musical Rent, playwright-composer Jonathan Larson gave this message:

Rent received a bevy of Tony awards as well as the Pulitzer Prize. On both occasions, it was Larson’s sister who took the stage to receive the awards on his behalf. He had died tragically and unexpectedly shortly after the play was completed.

No day but today.

Don’t wait until the falling apart or the kind gesture or the phone call. Don’t wait.


  1. Bethany -

    I first learned of Rent when I was in middle school. We sang Seasons of Love at music camp that year. I later saw the show as a senior in high school, and I fell in love with it. While there are many things that I do not agree with morally about the show, I believe that the message of no day but today is so very important....couldn't agree with you more!


  2. Excellent post! My grandmother died last year at 101. We were overseas. Our last visit home I only visited her once in the nursing home though we saw her on Sundays for lunch after church. How I wish I'd spent more time with her, for the kids' sake as well as my own.

    My other grandmother died several years earlier. I was too busy with work and a toddler to go and visit like I should.

    If only...

  3. Good reminder to consistently consider priorities. We get so caught up in the daily grind that we lose sight of the important things until they become pressing. Of course, the daily grind is important because that's what keeps us going. May we set our priorities straight!


  4. So true! My grandparents are older, and need a great deal of help from my husband and me. I catch myself being resentful way more often than I should, and I have to remind myself, "Someday you'll miss your Pop-pop so much that you would give your right arm to be able to spend even a few minutes with him." Other days, I become frustrated that my son won't sleep unless he's being held. I have to say to myself, "When he's 10, you'll want nothing more than to hold him while he sleeps, and he won't be interested. Enjoy it while it lasts." You would think that, after half a lifetime of loving RENT, I would have internalized the message a bit more fully!

  5. Bethany,

    I agree with your point in general. Part of caring for the things we love is doing the regular tasks necessary to maintain them. This is as true for abstract things like relationships as it is for physical things like kitchens and cars. And in all honesty, waiting until you're in the doghouse to buy flowers is like waiting to change your oil until you can hear pistons grinding in your enginge.

    That said, we wait to do maintenance because we care about far more things than we can actively maintain. In each area of our lives, we must decide what degree of neglect is acceptable. Do we vacuum the floor once a day? Once a week? Once a month? Wisdom helps us prioritize these tasks, but knowing the limits of our time and energy helps us to let go of relationships, possessions, and talents that we could have maintained, but didn't.


  6. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award on my blog today. Your blog has been such an inspiration for me. Thank you. Here is the link

    I wish my husband would buy me flowers for no reason! At least he picks some from the neighbors yard for me every once in awhile :)

  7. One of my biggest "why did I wait" regrets is that I didn't keep in good touch with a close work friend after I left that job. We both let things drift. Sadly, life got much worse for her due to marital problems and she ended up committing suicide. I'm not saying I could have been the big hero who saved her life with one lunch date or phone call, but I do have regrets and wish I'd stayed in better touch. I didn't even know things had gotten so hard in her life.

  8. This reminds me of one of my most used quotes, “The kindness planned for tomorrow doesn’t count today.”


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