“If you didn’t cherish me in my presence, you have no right to miss me in my absence.”
The principle of gratitude extends gifts and physical items but even the very presence of our loved ones. If we are really grateful, we won’t be apathetic to them and only be thankful after they leave us, but appreciate them every moment of the day.
As a brief reflection I give three examples of what I mean by the above-mentioned quote.
- In mid-2013, I learnt that I was moving house and therefore moving church. In one of our church camps, I broke the news to my uncaring cell (at the time), “I’m leaving soon.” No response. Moving on. 2014 rolled along and I gave the same statement, “I’m leaving soon.” They still didn’t care. In the middle of the year, I gave them the news one last time, “I’m leaving in 10 weeks.” Finally a few of them caught what I meant. I was leaving. My life is about to change, and they won’t play an active role in it. They finally started to be intentional toward building the friendship. On Farewell Day, I gently rebuked them with this, “Cherish one another. Don’t only miss one another after we leave when we didn’t care when we were around.” This evolved into the quote you see above.
- At the end of 2014, everyone celebrated and rejoiced at the completion of Project Work and Chinese. We had an awesome holidays but were never close to one another as a class. We were that class who was okay with one another but not close. Then came the 2nd last week of December, when we learnt of news of a plane crash. One of our classmates were unfortunately on that plane and for the first time, even though we all promoted, not all of us made it into J2. We opened the year with counseling instead of new year celebration and I made the same comment, “Let’s not waste any more time with one another. Let’s choose to cherish one another before it’s too late to do so.” The result? An almost-full-house of us went for the Prom Night and the 2D/2N Class Chalet thereafter.
- The death of Lee Kuan Yew ushered in the week-long state mourning. I was particularly irked by the response. All my life I heard of nothing but complaints about this man, how his policies have oppressed and made us unhappy. Yet, after his death, everyone started to sing his praises? I smelt bullshit right there and there. How can you have the intellectual integrity to mourn of the person you complain about? Hypocrisy! It sounds mean, but in the respect even the infamous Amos Yee is honorable, for his awful, awful view has at least been consistent throughout, rather than flip flopping like politicians’ pandering efforts. Why only miss the guy after he died?
“If you didn’t cherish me in my presence, you have no right to miss me in my absence.” This principle of gratitude applies beyond physical gifts, but even to people we care about.
Cherish one another NOW, before it’s too late.