An early morning phone call and an unexpected death have me pondering those trace impressions we leave behind each and every day.
Eldest headed out of town today with friends for a much-anticipated concert. My Dear Hubby headed out of state shortly after I dropped my youngest three off at school. My big sister lives 21 hours away, as does my little brother. My baby sister is the closest sibling at nearly three hours away. I have extended family spread out across the continent and very close cyber friends who live very far away.
During the course of any given day, I interact with a handful of different people–sometimes well into the hundreds depending on what I’m doing. In other words, my meager presence in this world still impacts thousands of lives all over the globe. I bet yours does, too.
You know what really scares me about this thought? I’m terrified that my last impression will be one of anger, disappointment, frustration or indifference. Secondly, I’m terrified of the lasting impression others will make on me–because I acted out of anger, disappointment, frustration or indifference.
- Should I die/discontinue a relationship after walking out the door (or commenting on a blog post, or hanging up the phone) with a final unkind remark, I will leave behind the legacy of anger, crabbiness and frustration. This is not how I see myself (most of the time), nor is it how I want to be seen. I don’t want to negatively affect others’ lives for all eternity. And I certainly don’t want anyone to carry the bonds of my disappointment based on the words I’ve said.
- Should someone else die/discontinue a relationship after I walked out the door (or commented on a blog post, or hung up the phone) with a final unkind remark, I will leave behind the legacy of anger, crabbiness and frustration. As well as guilt. You see, if my negativity preceded another’s last moments, I would be crushed by guilt. Guilt that the last thing someone felt in connection to me was the sting of my disappointment. Guilt at knowing I could have, should have and would have changed the words I used if I only knew.
But since I don’t know, I have one job in life–to carefully consider every moment as a last moment. I want those around me to feel loved, appreciated and cared for. This falls on my shoulders alone, as only I can change the way I deal with the people in my life. Only I can choose my reactions to a given situation.
I, alone, am responsible for the impression I will leave behind. On others as well as on myself.
My husband greatly respected Doug. His loss is deeply felt this morning, and my heart goes out to everyone who was touched by this kind and gentle man.
I wonder if his greatness was inherent or if it was carefully considered. I wonder, does it really matter?
Parents, spouses and friends, how did you take leave of your loved ones this morning? Is it how you wish to be remembered? Writers, critiquers and co-workers, how did you last interact with your peers? Will your behavior foster a stronger working environment or will your words cause unnecessary strife? Teachers, principals and students, did you start your day with respect toward one another, or did your attitude sour the atmosphere for those around you?
We alone control the power of last impressions. What do yours say about you?