I hope you’ll forgive my wandering off the normal Motivation Monday path, but I’ve spent the past week swimming through a sea of emotions. Those feelings fueled some extra intense workouts, and I now find them guiding my fingertips on this keyboard as part of what could be considered my attempt at a mental-health workout.
On Friday, my parents & I said good-bye to a dear friend and someone I’ve considered the guardian of my spiritual health and well-being since I was a kid. I was in the second grade at St. Mary’s in Manhasset, New York when we first met the Reverend Ralph Ferro. As I was just a child, I couldn’t tell you the specific date or time when we all grew close, but it happened somewhere between my father caring for Father Ralph and his family as patients and the countless Christmas dinners he spent with us even after his parents and his brother passed away.
Through the decades we knew each other, he celebrated a gamut of monumental events ranging from my cousin’s wedding to my best friend’s dad’s funeral. He celebrated my own wedding, and later counseled me through the divorce and even the painful annulment process. He shared in my joy when I found love again and shared in my sorrow when it didn’t work out. He prayed for my parents when they went through health scares and surgeries. He prayed when we mourned the loss of loved ones to cancer, old age or unexpected tragedies. No matter what was happening, I could turn to Father Ralph who either face-to-face or through the phone line would tell me, “It’s gonna be okay, kid. God loves you. So do your parents – and so do I.”
At his funeral, a fellow priest described Father Ralph as a “diamond in the rough.” My parents and I – along with many of the people who filled Holy Spirit Church to say good-bye – couldn’t help but chuckle in agreement. He didn’t look like a “typical priest,” but under his unique character was a true heart of gold. It was that heart along with his faith that led him to counsel people many of us would rather forget – prisoners in the Nassau County jail system. Sadly, that big heart stopped beating at the age of 71 – not even a month after we shared another memorable Christmas together.
While the news of his sudden death shook my parents and I to the core, it also reminded me of something so simple and so important, yet all too often forgotten. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, here it goes: Our time on this earth is far too short to put off living for one more day.
So if you’ve been meaning to make changes to follow a healthier lifestyle in the hopes of being on this earth as long as your body will let you, start today. On the flip side, if you don’t want to workout today because you’d rather spend that free hour visiting with the friend or loved one you haven’t caught up with in far too long, then don’t. If you’ve been denying yourself the indulgence of a certain treat, have it. If you can’t remember how a petty disagreement stopped all communication with a relative or friend, pick up the phone and start making amends. I’m not saying to spiral into an abyss and abandon all sense of order in your life. However, there’s no time like the present to stop delaying happiness when the opportunities to embrace it exist right in front of our eyes each and every day.
If there’s some semblance of motivation to be found amidst these 600 words, maybe I offered a push for you to think about doing the one thing you’ve put off for far too long. Sometimes we all need a reminder to enjoy each moment and live as if today was our last chance to have fun, be fit & feel fabulous.