Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Question for You

A thought-provoking question was asked in Table Topics at my Toastmasters club on Thursday. Table Topics is practice in impromptu speaking, a great skill to have at business meetings and in situations when you want to make a good impression. For example, as a writer, I’d like to feel comfortable and come off as intelligent if I were to meet an agent or publisher.

The question asked was: “When life threw you a curve ball, what decisions did you make that you now regret?”

If I had been called upon to answer, this is what I would have said:

One of the biggest curve balls in my life was having a son with epilepsy and special needs. That change has not come easily for me. I grieved the loss of my dreams for my son. And I’ve also felt sorry for myself many times since Kurt developed epilepsy 17 years ago. Sorry that my life didn’t turn out as expected.

When Kurt was having so many seizures back when they started at three-years-old, there wasn’t much time for girls’ weekends. Leaving Kurt plus his brothers and Paul would have induced waves of guilt. So I lost touch with friends.

High school reunions came and went without Paul and I. Sharing our hardships with others didn’t feel right, so I let the connections wither. I like to share good news, not bad, and there was a lot of bad for the first seven years after Kurt’s diagnosis.

One day earlier in the year, an invitation to our 30th high school reunion arrived. I tossed the event back and forth in my mind, discussed it with Paul, and we decided to send our RSVP.

A couple of weeks before the dinner, I got a call from Debbie, a dear friend. She invited me to her cabin and was also inviting another dear friend, Kori, who I had not seen for years. Again, I had to weigh the guilt, who would take care of Kurt while I was gone? We had made arrangements for the weekend, but now I had an extra 24 hours to throw in. We don’t leave Kurt at home alone for safety reasons. He also needs medicine three times a day, which someone has to get ready and make sure he takes. I would be leaving this chore to Kurt’s 17-year-old brother. Talk about guilt!

However, I said “Yes!”

I spent a precious 24 hours with my two friends. We talked, laughed, cried, and shared our stories. I found out that every one has been thrown curve balls. I am not alone.

A week later, I am still feeling that warm glow of friendship. I didn’t know how much I needed the connection with friends who really know me until it came back into my life.

So the decision I regret is that I didn’t stay in touch with dear friends.

What decisions have you made that you now regret?

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