This past weekend, our infant son fell quite ill. He got a very high fever that kept spiking up to a worryingly high number, then falling a bit, then spiking again. He was completely lethargic. He seemed most content simply resting with his eyes open while being held, which is as far away from his usual chattering and clapping and noisy and boisterous self as can be.
At the same time, we found out that an old friend of ours (“Walt,” from an old post) was in hospice care. We have had difficulty staying in touch with him since our move because he was fairly reclusive. While juggling our child’s illness, we tried to find out where he was staying so that we could visit him, but shortly after we found out, we learned that he had passed away from liver cancer.
Did I spend enough time with Walt? My wife spent more time with him than I did over the past few years, checking in on him to make sure he was doing all right.
Is my son going to be okay? The warmth from his cheeks often felt so hot against me.
All of the bustle in the world just stops sometimes. I have so many ongoing concerns, yet all of those seemingly important concerns just melt away when things like these happen.
What’s really important, then?
Is it more important to buy another computer game off of Steam, or to spend an hour visiting an old person whose week you’ll make just by visiting them?
Is it more important to hold your healthy child for a moment and tell them that you love them, or to pay no attention to their childish games while you’re busy watching the big game?
So often, when you start cutting things down to what’s really important, you begin to realize that most of the stuff you spend your money and time on really doesn’t matter all that much. There are so many other worthwhile and genuinely valuable things to do with your time, and often that leaves your money there in your checking account to make it much easier to take care of yourself.
Goodbye, Walt. Thanks for a final lesson that I’ll remember deeply.