Back in the mid-1900s, anyone attending a Chicago Cubs game would have been greeted by an Andy Frain usher. These gentlemen were usually tall, unfailingly neat and well-groomed, and were representative of their namesake.
I have a friend who grew up in the Chicago area. Once, he was at a Cubs game and struck up a conversation with an Andy Frain usher. After the usher made a quick, favorable assessment of my friend, he made him an offer. “Would you like to be an Andy Frain usher?” My friend, for reasons he didn’t understand, hesitated. As a result of that hesitation, the representative said, “Never mind, son.” and moved on. There were so many people who wanted that honor that even a bit of hesitation would cause one to be passed by.
My friend never could figure out why he took too long to answer a call he wanted so greatly.
Every day, life offers us opportunities that come and go, beating incredible odds at every turn. Consider how you came to be reading this: Your mother released an egg which made its way to the Fallopian tube. Of the 300 million or so sperm who were candidates to be the one, about 100,000 made their journey down the cervix to reach the egg. Most lost their way, such that about 200 actually had the chance to fertilize the egg. The DNA of that one sperm combined with the DNA of the egg to create you. If you are a believer in spiritual things, you understand that this fertilized egg became a vessel for your unique soul.
Seen in this light, you realize that such an improbable outcome implies a responsibility on you to make the most of your time.
In short, the time is now: the items on your bucket list; the long-neglected responsibilities; the expressions of gratitude. All these things are not only worthy of your time. It is incumbent on you to attend to them.
This isn’t to say that we should neglect the moments of quiet and stillness that help us reflect. We need to meditate and think so we will do the right things. We need to be fully engaged with children. We need to lie on our back and look up at the night sky. As John Wooden put it, “Be quick but don’t hurry.”
I had a helpful correspondence recently with a friend about how to know when we are to act to make things happen versus when we are to wait for things to happen. There certainly are times for both. Any time we feel we are settling for something less that what is best, we need either to act, or to refrain from an action. But we must do something.
When Kenny Loggins was wrting the song, “This is it”, he initially tried to make it into another love song that would be a top 10 hit. His father became ill and near-death. He had a heated conversation with his father in the hospital, insisting to him that he had a say in whether he lived or died. He left for a meeting with his co-writer:
I began to cry. “I’ve got it,” I announced to Michael, “it’s not a love song. It’s a life song.” I went on to tell him about my fight with my father and his fight for life. Suddenly all the previous lyric made sense and new additional lyrics literally came flooding out. When we hit the chorus I sang out “this is it” emphatically, for the first time. Michael looked at me in shock. “Are you sure?” he asked. “Positive,” I said. And so it went.
That evening I rushed back to visit my father at the hospital with my first demo of “This Is It” in my hand. As I played it for him in his room, tears came to our eyes, we held each other and silently I knew he’d be alright. My father lived four more good years before suffering kidney disease created by lack of blood flow, and died in 1987.
For you, too, this is it. Make no mistake where you are. When you are visited by opportunity, know yourself, your goals, and your mission, so there will be no hesitation in saying “Yes.”