Have you ever said, I’ll do it tomorrow? I certainly have—many times! We usually have good intentions when we say it, but we also know “the road to ‘wherever’ is paved with good intentions.”
The “I’ll do it tomorrow” thing got me thinking. We don’t expect that delaying seemingly minor things until tomorrow will have a dramatic impact on our lives. Unfortunately, they can—when we least expect it!
This short story about a young couple is a good example of a minor situation turning into major event. It happens!
Three Little Words
John and Beth love each other and plan to get married in the near future. Like many couples, they sometimes argued about insignificant things, but usually managed to resolve their differences with a kiss, followed by three little words, “I love you.”
Last night’s argument was a bit different though. Things didn’t go very well. The harsh words exchanged about a minor issue made both of them angry; John left Beth’s apartment abruptly. There was no goodnight kiss and neither said those three little words. This had never happened before.
After hours of waiting anxiously for John to call with an apology, Beth finally went to bed. Unfortunately, John did the same. Both wanted to tell the other how sorry they were. They even reached for their phone many times, but decided to wait until tomorrow to make the call.
With heavy hearts from the previous night’s argument, John and Beth headed off to work the next day. Neither took time to call the other to say, “I’m sorry for what I said last night. Please forgive me. I love you!”
Beth had a busy morning with a desk full of paperwork, but her focus was on her cell phone, wishing John would call. She just wanted to hear the voice that always caused her heart to melt—just three little words from him would brighten her day.
As if queued by her growing despair, Beth’s phone started ringing with her favorite tone and John’s photo on display.
Beth answered, “Hi, Sweetheart! I’m so happy you called because I have so much to say to you about last night. I lov…”
“Hello, ma’am. I’m sorry, but this is Silvia Smoak. I need to speak to Beth Brown, please.”
Confused by the unexpected female voice using John’s phone, Beth said, “This, um, um—this is she. To whom am I speaking?”
“Miss Brown, I’m Silvia Smoak, head nurse in the emergency room at Quincy Medical Center. Do you know a gentleman by the name of Mr. John Clark?”
“Yes, I do. He’s my fiancé. Why are you using John’s phone?”
“Miss Brown, I am so sorry I have to tell you this, but Mr. Clark was involved in a work-related accident this morning.”
“Oh, no! Is John okay?”
“No, ma’am. Mr. Clark…”
Silvia heard a loud noise followed by an eerie silence, as if Beth had dropped the phone.
“Miss Brown, are you still there? Miss Brown, Miss Brown…”
“Hello, this is Becky. I’m Beth’s friend. She just ran out of the office screaming, “John! Accident! Quincy Medical! Who is this, and what’s going on?”
“Becky, this is Nurse Silvia Smoak at Quincy Medical. I’m not at liberty to speak to anyone other than Miss Brown at this time. I’ll explain everything to her when she arrives at the emergency room.”
Beth entered the emergency room.
“Miss Brown? Hi, I’m Silvia Smoak. I called you earlier because I found your name as the emergency contact on Mr. Clark’s cell phone…”
“Where is John? What happened? Is he okay? I want to see him!”
“Miss Brown, please have a seat and I’ll explain everything to you.”
“I don’t need to sit down; I’m fine! Take me to John!”
“Miss Brown, I’m so sorry to inform you that Mr. Clark did not survive the accident. He di…”
“No! He can’t be—I didn’t tell him, I…,” shouted Beth as she collapsed into Nurse Smoak’s arms.
“I need some help here!” shouted Nurse Smoak.
“Miss Brown—Miss Brown, can you hear me?”
Still groggy, Beth replied, “Yes. Where’s John?”
Miss Brown, I know this is shocking news…”
“Wait! I know! This is one of John’s silly pranks, isn’t it? He likes to play silly games with me.”
“No, Miss Brown. I wish it were a prank. You see, Mr. Clark was involved in an explosion and our attempts to revive him proved unsuccessful. He succumbed to his injuries a short time ago. I’m so sorry.”
The reality of John’s demise hit Beth hard and she started crying uncontrollably as Nurse Smoak continued consoling her.
“Miss Brown, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult this must be for you. Is there anyone I can call for you?”
“I, I don’t know— John’s parents are deceased. I can’t believe he’s… Why did this happen to John?”
“Miss Brown, I wasn’t trying to invade your privacy, but when I looked on Mr. Clark’s cell phone for whom to contact in case of an emergency, I saw an unsent text message meant for you. I’m sure you will want to read it. His message may give you some much needed comfort.”
With tears flowing down her cheeks, Beth began reading John’s text message.
“Hi, Sweetheart! Just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for leaving you the way I did last night. I was wrong and should have been more understanding. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms tonight! I LOVE YOU! XOXOXO”
Life is complicated and can change in the blink of an eye. Beth is now fully aware of the consequences that can come from waiting until tomorrow to do things. If there is something you should say or do today, don’t put it off until TOMORROW. Living life with regrets can be more painful than swallowing one’s pride today.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
…Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…
I hope you never find yourself in a situation similar to Beth’s, so try to remember this:
Yesterday is now the past,
And Tomorrow may never be.
Do all things you must Today,
So regrets don’t come your way.
God’s blessings to you and yours!
Tom Tatum – Author – 2016
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