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Someone is Across the Table

Last night I decided, in the spirit of this project to reach out to a friend I haven't spoken to in a while. I was excited to catch up with a person who has known me through several phases of my life, to share this new project and let him be a part of the happiness I had found in my work. His mobile number was disconnected. Not a big deal, it had been a while since we spoke. So I dug through my contacts and found the number for his landline, hoping this one would work and already playing out what I would do if it didn't. The phone rang a couple of minutes and his wife answered. Bonus! I got to talk with another person and share my new place in life with them as well, they knew me to and could see how happy I was.

"Matt, Timmy's dead."

My friend had been out riding his motorcycle that morning, taking in a beautiful day, when a late-night partier on their way home swerved and struck him at 70 mph. A man I had called a brother, who had been so physically and mentally strong, was gone.

We hadn't spoken in over 6 months.

Timmy had been there through both of my divorces, through all of my troubles.. He'd called when I completed both of my Masters. He had come to my aid when I was so low in depression, many wondered if I would find my way out. Without question, without fail, he was there. He checked in from time to time, but it had been a while. We were both adults, we both had lives and things going on.

"We make time for the things we care about."

The words of my adopted father, Steve, echo with me a lot. This was another one of those times. I'm not the drunk driver who killed my friend. I'm not in any way responsible for his passing. He had been very happy in that time. He'd been promoted at work, the bike he'd been riding was new. He'd even lived up to his promise of taking his wife on the honeymoon they couldn't go on 7 years ago. There had been so much happiness in his life, I wish I could have shared it with him. Just like I wanted him to share mine.

In the day to day of our lives, we often look at what's on our plate and forget that someone is sitting across from us at the table. Someone is sitting next to us, and there are other tables all around the room. We look at our plate, piled high with everything we have to do in the next day, week, month and we focus. There will be time for the other people at our table. We will get to them later when we are less busy.

Most of the time we are lucky, and the table setting remains the same. Sometimes, we find some people have left the table. Either by the passing of time, the inevitable distance that finds its way into untended relationships or even by great tragedy. The greatest tragedy though is not in their passing, it is in our failure to realize we make our own priorities. We decide what comes first, and we pay the price for what we put off.

"We make time for the things we care about."

I killed the battery on my phone talking with his wife, saying hello to his daughter and listening to the new joke she heard. I woke up early and honored my friend with a relentless workout, just like we joked about honoring the gym gods for years. There is a new recurring reminder every couple of weeks to check in on them and see how they are doing.

I'm sitting here writing this, thinking about the other people at the table. Wondering how long it's been since I talked to them, how they are doing and what joys they have to share. I think about people I will see today and wonder if they all know how much they mean to me, how much I love them, how they have become a family to me.

I'm sitting here, looking at my daily plate and I don't care. It's stuff. It will get done.

I want all the time with the people sitting at the table I can have. I want to pull up more chairs and invite others to sit down, and I hope some people come to crash the party too. I want time with all of them. There's plenty.

"We make time for the things we care about."

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