Doing the Right Thing


                               by Neal Lemery

published in the Tillamook County Pioneer, 2/10/2023

            Sometimes in our lives there is a moment where we have a choice, an opportunity. When we see the door open, or the fork in the road, or an opening in a conversation, there is that moment that is magical, pregnant with possibilities, a place to make a real shift, a real change.

            I can often sense that moment, and I haven’t regretted taking advantage, and moving in to take action.  “Opportunity knocks” and I often feel called to respond. Often, it is a chance to speak real truth, or speak deeply from the heart, to go deep. Too often, I’ve let the moment pass, and soon regret my inaction, my procrastination, and my perpetuation of the awkwardness, the unhealed relationship, the shunning of real truth.  And, so, I don’t grow, the disease that needs healed remains infectious, and I stagnate, the relationship stagnates and festers. Life withers on the vine and my life’s garden does not grow well. 

            So many of our interactions tend to be superficial, and have little consequence.  We slip through our day, and end up feeling we haven’t accomplished much.  We’ve done our errands, but we really haven’t made a difference, or acted in a profound, important way.  

            We need to.  We need to often take advantage of the opportunities we have to be the supportive, trustworthy friend who speaks deep truth, who is the catalyst for fundamental change, to be supportive of the enlightenments that await us all as we struggle through the challenges of daily life.  How often are we confronted with real truth, with a call to do something important, life-changing?  And, do we act on that, and move our lives forward?

            Or do we let it slip past us, letting the opportunity to die on the vine, to ignore the elephant in the living room, the problem that is calling out for a solution, for action.  Sometimes, it is time to end the pain, to clean out the wounds, and to move forward with healing and acknowledgement that the truth, while sometimes painful, needs to be heard. Remedies need to be applied, and we need to move on to a better world.

            Life is, indeed, short. We have many missed opportunities, and our relationships are often not as fertile and rich as they could be.  In this chapter of my life, more friends are growing ill and dying.  We don’t often share how much we love them, or speak the deep truth between friends that needs to be shared.  We throw away the possibilities of our emotional lives and the enrichment of relationships and community.  The list of regrets and “if onlys” grows, creating sorrow, disappointments, and disappointment in our own potential to be fully loving and kind. 

            I just sent out a number of Valentine’s Day cards, not that I’m a fan of the commercialization of a holiday that is supposed to be all about love and relationships.  I used that opportunity to tell people I care about, that I love them, that yes, they are loved and my relationship with them is important and cherished.  How often do we do that? Do we really need a holiday to make that statement?  

            When they are gone, I will regret not saying that more often, that I will regret not spending more time with them, and speaking to each other our deep truths and emotions. And that regret is my own doing.  I am reminded that it is up to me to change that, to re-prioritize my “errand list” of the day, to make truth telling and relationship building my number one priority.  

            On my way to run some errands, I took the back road and did some bird watching, finding myself face to face with several magnificent birds.  I captured some exciting photographs and experienced the joy of fabulous birding and the glory of our community’s spectacular beauty.  I felt the peace that only being out in nature can give.  

            Why don’t I do that more often?  Why do I not take advantage of some time on a back road, a foggy morning, and birds showing off their beauty? There are so many opportunities to be appreciative of a few minutes of peace and contentment, of savoring the world around us. And, I forget to do that, forget to see the truth that is all around us, and to share some of that with friends.  

            I need to do the right things in my life.  If I’m honest with myself, that is really a priority, that is a deep need we all have.  Putting our emotional houses in order requires that each of us take action, that we put away our procrastination, and to act to build relationships, to speak our truth, and to call on everyone, including ourselves, to rise to the occasion, and live full and complete lives.  We need to share our love with the world, in each and every moment we have.


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