Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Heartwarming "Selfie"!

I have to admit that the “selfie” in this essay is most definitively my first. Not trying to compete with the famous “selfies” of Pope Francis, or President Obama, or even Ellen DeGeneres & Bradley Cooper, I thought it was high time that I joined into this most modern trend; and who better to partner with than my dear Aunt Lorraine!

Now Aunt Lorraine will be embarrassed when she sees this essay, she has become “famous” across our company, and across a number of other organizations, for her very powerful concept, “Aunt Lorraine’s Law.” In an early essay by that same name, I shared a story of how as a boy I was quite a picky eater and Lorraine tried to get me to eat my vegetables with the admonition… “William, take small bites and chew thoroughly, and you can swallow anything!” Over the years, those simple words kept coming to mind, not as a model to “eat my vegetables,” but as a simple and powerful lesson on how to handle the challenges of life.

This week I had the need to be at our parent company’s Headquarters in Camden, NJ and one evening after work I drove over to visit Aunt Lorraine who lives an hour or so away. Lorraine had recently been having some knee troubles, so I particularly wanted to see how she was getting along. We visited for a while, catching up on family news, and after a bit we went out to dinner with her two closest friends, Herbie and Audrey. The dinner was terrific (especially the Chicken Saltimbocca!) and we raised a glass of wine and toasted to the “three canes and four smiles” around our dinner table. Herbie treated us to dinner (thanks again Herbie) and we headed back to Lorraine’s so I could drive back to my hotel in Philadelphia before it got dark that night. While only a few hours, it was a wonderful visit!

As I drove home, I thought about seeing Lorraine and all the people from our past now gone, whom I would love to have a chance to visit with again and sit around a dinner table and enjoy a meal. Of course I thought about my mom Arline Wark Levisay, Lorraine’s sister, now almost forty years past. I thought about my Dad, his mother Mama, her sister Marge and husband Adley, my mother-in-law Jane and her daughter Carrie, my friend Bruce …. and as I drove west towards Philly, the list continued to grow. What would I give for just one more visit, one more dinner, and one more chance to sit for a few hours and catch up??

As I made it back to my hotel with a beautiful sunset in sight, it was clear to me that the lesson from my visit with Lorraine was simple; see the people you love NOW, while you can! If you have a chance for a few hour visit, do it NOW, no excuses! Life is lived with no rewind feature. We only have NOW and hopefully tomorrow, but you never know. Sure life is busy and work priorities, and outside obligations often get in the way, but work hard to fight those seemingly “urgent” obligations and focus in on what is truly “important” in life, sharing time with those you love! Take a few hours and visit “your Aunt Lorraine” and take a “Heartwarming Selfie” of your own to remember help you remember the moment for years to come!