A wake-up call from the universe.

cloudsLast September, my husband and I bought a condo in Atlanta as a rental investment. We had a tenant in place ’til the end of March, so when she moved out, we began a big renovation in earnest, helped out by our management company, Cooper Brown. In short order, we replaced all the appliances, carpet, countertops, window blinds, fixtures, and paint — and we’re about a day away from being totally finished. Along the way, I’ve dealt with Dave Brown and his team of Chris, Jason and Nick – which means they get to hear from me a lot. Last night, I sent a stern letter to Chris, our point man on the job, detailing what I really, really wanted to get finished by today. This morning, at 8:56, I felt bad about how “assertive” I’d been in that letter and wrote an apology and a big thank-you for all that had been done thus far …

And at about 10 am this morning, as it turned out, Christopher Byrd, his fiance, his dad and his brother were in the plane that crashed on I-285 … on the way to see his little brother graduate from Ole Miss.

I really, really hope that Chris wasn’t reading his emails and my list of “must haves” from last night, or that he did read my email that thanked him for all his effort on our behalf. But at the very least, I feel like I’ve learned something critically important (and what my daughter Lulu has been telling me for years) : I am way, way too impatient, and I need to give other people a big, gigantic break because you truly never know what anyone else is going through, and you never, ever want the last thing somebody hears is something negative from you.

I am so sad tonight for Chris’s family .. and it seems incomprehensible to imagine their loss.

He was a really fine person. I wish I’d been more like him.

(Makes me remember one of my mom’s favorite prayers):

I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. –Etienne de Grellet, Quaker Missionary

17 thoughts on “A wake-up call from the universe.

  1. Dear Betty, you have such a huge heart that I know you must have been crushed by the .loss of Chris and the tragedy for his family and friends. I also know how deeply you suffer if you think you hurt someone, so this is really hard for you. I appreciate you writing about it so that I can be reminded to be more patient and thoughtful. Thank you. Pat S

  2. Your gift of transparency serves us all; never forget that, dear Betty. The Quaker prayer is a lovely reminder. Mine is simply to treat people how we’d want to be treated — not coddled, not ‘protected’ as people deserve loving feedback. In our professional coaching, we call that treating people knowing they are ‘Creative, Resourceful, and Whole’. No one’s broken, we’re not here to fix anybody. We love each other and call each other forth. Clients are CRW — and by the way, so are you and me 🙂

  3. Honestly, as one who’s been on your receiving end, I would have hoped it wouldn’t take the deaths of four people to finally make an impact on your behavior. And then to turn it into a blog about what *you’ve* learned and your teaching moment when every bit of the focus should be on these four and their families…and nothing more. Had to say it.

    • Wow… I guess you had a lot you wanted to say to me before this. I was sincerely not trying to make this about me, I was trying to express my sadness about this event, and how shocking it was to realize how quickly people can slip from this world into the next — which does make me wish that I could always treat people in the most compassionate way.

      • I took your post exactly as you’d intended. Yes, the universe reminds us in small and large ways what is important. Sometimes it is a timely message and sometimes it is not. The important take-away is the reminder to do things differently in the future, which you acknowledged. Don’t beat yourself up!

  4. A wonderful reminder for ME. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You sent that second email. You already knew BEFORE the crash how to be kind. Consider yourself HUGGED.

  5. A reminder for all of us. So sorry to hear this news, but leave it to you to turn a tragedy into a teaching moment. xoxo

    • So sorry to hear. I can just imagine doing the same…impatience is something I know well. You done good catching yourself in the moment. Coincidences are one of life’s great mysteries, but the learning from them is always a revelation.

      • Dearest Char, I only wish I could catch myself in the moment, as it’s too often I look back with regret at my impatience. But
        it’s always so absolutely jarring to realize that you may not have the opportunity to redeem yourself with someone — lovely to hear from you, dear friend!

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