I didn’t call my brother Bob on Thanksgiving.
I was on vacation, exploring Colonial Williamsburg, and he was in New Hampshire taking care of business at a Christian conference center. I didn’t know if he was spending the day with his wife’s extended family, or dealing with a maintenance issue on the camp property, but I figured he was busy, and he would call me if he had the chance.
Plus, to be honest, over the years I’d gotten tired of being the one who always seemed to have to make the call. It goes way back to when my brothers and I became adults, out on our own. Mom’s birthday would be approaching and I’d call both my brothers to remind them. “Please send a card or, at least, call,” I’d plead. it would happen again on Mother’s Day. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t remember without my reminders. Later, when we were all busy with our own families and lives and living far apart, I just felt I was always the one reaching out to connect.
It wasn’t true, you know. Bob used to call me at random times as he drove between sales call stops. it’s possible that over the years he called me as much as I called him. I don’t really know.
But I didn’t call on Thanksgiving, and three days later he was dead.
I wish I had made the call.
I’ve done the same things in friendships, too, where I’ve begun to feel I am the only one calling to catch up or to suggest a lunch date. Why should I have to be the only one making an effort in this friendship? I’m not calling anymore; if they want to get together, they can call me. Sometimes they do. But there are times that friendships I valued drifted away because I was too proud to make the first call. Or maybe because I was too insecure, thinking that if they didn’t call they really didn’t want to see me or catch up.
Most of the time that’s not true. We are all busy. Too busy. And while we might see that Facebook post or remember that shared joke and think, Ooh, I really want to catch up with her, life calls louder. Have-tos crowd out would-like-tos, and time slips away. Months pass. Relationships dry up.
Make the call.
That’s my advice. Don’t let insecurity or hurt or irritation or busyness keep you from reaching out. It’s not worth the loss. Be generous with your efforts. Put calls on your calendar or to-do list. Set reminders, if it helps. Nurture your relationships. Friendships. Family. Even if you have to take the lead.
Because someday you’ll wake up and you won’t be able to reach them. And you’ll at least have that last call, that last visit to remember.