It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it is—the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. – Seneca
I was moved the other morning while listening to an interview Tony Robbins conducted with the legendary coach John Wooden. He recalled a seven point creed that his father had given him when he finished elementary school, and lived each day to it’s fullest. The one point that struck me the most, was “Make each day your masterpiece.” Tony Robbins, in recalling this interview even choked up as he described how Coach Wooden wrote a love letter to his late wife, every month for twenty five years until his own passing. This infinite devotion, and unfailing faith inspired me. And months since writing my last post and even posting our last recording, I felt it was time to put my heart to words once again.
They say that things stay on the internet forever, and for that reason I continue to write to you. One day you may read these as I sit across from you, as I sleep in the next room or as I train or teach outside. There may also be a day when you find these messages far from where I am. You could even come across these words long after I have left you. But in all cases, like these words echo through the web, remember that I stay with you always. I can’t say exactly when, or with any certainty why it happened, but probably several months to a year ago I had a feeling that I would die. It wasn’t with any fear or dread, or even in a premonition kind of way. I just felt and thought that I would. Every day I wondered if that would be the day. If that would be the last day. And because of that I thought about three things. First, how would you remember me? In all ways, would you think of me fondly with golden nostalgia? Would you remember the things I did or the way I looked or even the last words I spoke? A few weeks ago I listened to this account of a retired firefighter that spoke of his last conversations to his sons, also a firefighter and a police officer as they headed into NYC on 9/11. It was his final conversation with both of them, and he was so grateful that he heard them tell him they loved him, and that he could tell them the same. Would you remember the last words that I said? And if so, am I always careful to speak in a way that I would want you to remember me by?
Second, how do you know me now? Am I your father? Am I your Daddy? Am I hard or stern or a disciplinarian? Am I a teacher? Am I someone that you want to love but barely know, someone that comes in day in and day out to provide you with food and money but never of self? Do you believe that I see you? Do you feel that I know you? Do you know just how much I love you? I think of these things, who I am to you today and who I want you to remember me by and I ask myself with every waking moment. Are they the same? And if they are not, it is my utmost priority to make that correction. I know it hassles you sometimes, but I will always say it. Every day. I love you. And I’m proud of you. If anything my children, if you know nothing else you must always know this and remember it. I don’t have a lot of time, whether it is because I feel like I could die any moment, or because I have come to realize that I myself waste much more time that I value in my life. If anything, if I have made any use of my time at all, know that in my deepest of hearts just how proud I am of you. How much I love you.
My master instructors in the Sayoc family frequently talk about how time is the one thing you can never get back, and that losing each other is always a part of our lives. And because of that we much cherish the time that we do have, knowing that at some point that time will come to an end. So third, do I cherish my time with you? Am I stuck on my phone or on this computer? Have I missed out on time because of work? Of all the things in life, work. When you talk to me, do I listen? With my heart as well as my ears? Can I live my days with you and sleep my nights with you like they are the last? Do I cherish each moment as if it is our last? Fr. Mike on his podcast once told of a college professor, a priest that was so moved by reading poetry that literally every lecture he wept. Do I have that passion inside to share with you?
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God. – 2 Timothy 1:6
The other night we watched Courageous. And when the father turns to his son, and tells him that he did not start well, but wants to finish well I felt my heart sing in agreement. I know I have been far from the best father, but I too want to finish well. I want you to not just know but believe and feel my love for you. I want to make each day a masterpiece.
I love you with all that I am, William, Gabriel, Matthew & Hope.