Last week, I literally had the BEST WEEK EVER! I was named one of the Chicago Defender 50 Women of Excellence, Radio Ink featured me as one of Radio’s Future African-American Leaders, I closed some big accounts at Midway Broadcasting, and I presented an incredible forum on Saturday with my AARP client…I was on fire! Yesterday, I met my AARP client at a spa to celebrate our professional success and job well done. I arrived first and handed a bottle of Veuve to the hostess for later. She asked if I was celebrating anything special. I paused and reflected. Though I could have answered that question by recapping my success from the week, Spirit led me in a different direction. I remembered an essay from my first book “Voted Most Creative: Perspectives on Live, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The essay is entitled SPECIAL OCCASION. I told the hostess that I was indeed celebrating because everyday is a special occasion.
My client and I had a wonderful time at the spa. Then went to a BBQ at another client’s house where we ate, drank, sang karaoke, and laughed until our stomachs hurt. Driving home I kept thinking how grateful I am because I’m so happy…like a room without a roof. I talked to my parents and then fell soundly and contentedly asleep. I didn’t hear my phone ring at 1132pm. I was finally stirred at 1213am. I answered the phone and was shocked by the sound of weeping.
I was informed by a college friend that there was a fire at the New Jersey home of my best friend from college, Tanji. Two bodies were found, but they hadn’t confirmed if it was her and her son. But her car was in the driveway so more than likely. I felt (and still feel as I type this) like the air has been pulled out the room. I asked what I could do. Though her sobs, my friend asked me to call another friend. I called my friend Tim and at this point I’ve lost my composure. Tim asks if I tried calling Tanji. I stopped. No, I didn’t call Tanji because I don’t have her phone number. We fell out a couple of years ago and hadn’t spoken since. I called her a few times to repair the relationship but she didn’t call me back so I deleted her contact information. And now, I won’t get another chance in this lifetime.
Tanji Dewberry and I met our first week at Northwestern and were best friends for 20 years. Even though we didn’t speak the last two years, I thought of her often and prayed for her and her family. I pray she and Evan rest in peace. I spent the night calling my Northwestern friends, I told them all that we can’t keep going so long without seeing each other. Tanji, Angie, and I were the three Musketeers. Angie lives in LaGrange and we have rescheduled getting together too many times. What is the point of working so hard if I don’t spend quality time with my family and friends? I vow to do better.
Tanji Doodleberry and Evan the Bumblebee, I love you both and you will forever live in my heart.
I purchased an expensive bottle of wine.
I decided to save it for a special occasion –
A promotion, a big birthday, a fabulous celebration.
One day, I looked at the bottle longingly.
The elixir beckoned me to partake.
I refused, noting that the day was not a special occasion.
Months passed, and the bottle summoned me again.
The mere thought of drinking the wine was intoxicating,
but again, I resolutely shunned the offer.
More months passed, and then I noticed something.
The cork had cracked.
Debris floated in the wine, the delicate grapes had spoiled.
My exquisite wine was wasted while I waited.
My special occasion had never come…Or had it?
I resolved there was a lesson to be learned.
To appreciate the future, I must appreciate the NOW!
The future is not promised to anyone.
The only sure thing is death, but its date of fulfillment is uncertain.
For every person who took their last breathe yesterday,
today would have been special.
Every new day and every new breath taken is a special occasion;
Celebrate these moments by enjoying all the beauty and joy that you can.
Drink that special bottle of wine.
Wear that fancy dress. Light that decorative candle.
Use that good china. Tell that person you love them.
Celebrate the right now.
Live each day as a special occasion.
Deanna Burrell is the author of Voted "Most Creative": Perspectives on Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Happiness (the poem above is include in VMC) and the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer. Described as "Waiting to Exhale" meets "Sex and the City", your summer won't be complete without it. Click here to download Single Girl Summer now!
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