Do It Now!

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By Dennis E. Mannering

In a class I teach for adults, I gave the assignment to "go to someone you love, and tell them that you love them."

At the beginning of the next class, one of the students began by saying, "I was angry with you last week when you gave us this assignment. I didn't feel I had anyone to say those words to. But as I began driving home my conscience started talking. Then I knew exactly who I needed to say `I love you' to. Five years ago, my father and I had a vicious disagreement and never really resolved it. We avoided seeing each other unless we absolutely had to at family gatherings. We hardly spoke. So by the time I got home, I had convinced myself I was going to tell my father I loved him.

"Just making that decision seemed to lift a heavy load off my chest.

"At 5:30, I was at my parents' house ringing the doorbell, praying that Dad would answer the door. I was afraid if Mom answered, I would chicken out and tell her instead. But as luck would have it, Dad did answer the door.

"I didn't waste any time - I took one step in the door and said, `Dad, I just came over to tell you that I love you.'

"It was as if a transformation came over my dad. Before my eyes his face softened, the wrinkles seemed to disappear and he began to cry. He reached out and hugged me and said, `I love you too, son, but I've never been able to say it.'

"But that's not even my point. Two days after that visit, my dad had a heart attack and is in the hospital. I don't even know if he'll make it.

"So my message to all of you is this: Don't wait to do the things you know need to be done. What if I had waited to tell my dad? Take the time to do what you need to do and do it now!"

from Condensed Chicken Soup for the Soul - Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Patty Hansen