Feb 09 2012

Life is Too Short

Have you ever thought that life is too short? We don’t usually think about it until something tragic happens to remind us. That’s just what happened to me this week.

My part-time job is teaching English as a Second Language to a class of 15 Chinese Seniors. I love the students – it doesn’t feel like a job. They enjoy attending class and we have fun together. There is a connection among all of us. It is more than just a classroom where they go twice a week to improve their English ability. We have fun together, laugh a lot together and develop good relationships.

This week we were all reminded that life is too short! Monday morning when the students arrived, two of the women came to me visibly upset about something; both were speaking at once, trying to find the English words to tell me what happened. My assistant/interpreter hadn’t arrived yet, so it was up to me to get the news out of them. When I finally got them calmed down and insisted that only one of them speak, she slowly got out the words, “Shi Xian passed away!”

life is shortThat was not the news I was expecting! One of the students had a brain hemmorhage the Friday before and it took her life! What a shock for all of us!

We had been working on a health unit and she was the one with no health issues, no conditions, no medications – she was the picture of health! She was only 76. Monday morning I taught them the phrase we use, “Life is too short”. We all agreed. When I told my manager the news, she said that she makes sure that her last words with someone are kind,  just in case she doesn’t see them again. What a remarkable intention! You just never know.

Not only in my coaching, but also with friends and in casual conversation, the topic of relationships comes up frequently. Relationships are difficult – even the best of them. There doesn’t seem anything easy about them. But they are important. People are the most important thing in your life. It is important to value people and to treat them well.

When I think about Shi Xian, I’m glad that I had treated her well. She loved to talk, and for those of you who are teachers, you know how frustrating talkative students can be at times. But over the years I have chosen to value each person and look for the positive in them. I saw her as a friendly socialite who lit up the classroom and made us laugh. (And who really cares if these seniors learn all the English I have planned? They’re not trying to graduate!) I was so pleased that I had learned to appreciate who she was and how she could add value to the lives of the rest of us. In the next class, I had the students give tributes to her – in English – and most of them spoke about her friendliness and her sense of humour. We all have fond memories of her.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou

Are you thinking that life is too short? It really is. Today is the day to let someone know you value them. Tell someone you love them. That may be easy in your ‘good’ relationships. But how about broken ones – friends or family? They are important too!

In the next post I’ll be talking about the tough relationships. Life is too short to live with those too. Stay tuned and we’ll work on those next time.

In the meantime, if you want to start changing a difficult relationship and it seems too hard, don’t be embarrassed to get help. That’s what I had to do. You might even consider a Life Coach (wink, wink).

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. ~Henry Boye 

Leave a comment and tell us about how you discovered that life is too short!



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  1. Ed Bensler

    Went for a colonoscopy last week. Went for a CT scan Monday. The news from the colonoscopy from the doctor was not good. We pass this along as a prayer request. Ed & LIn Thanks.

    1. Betty

      I’m sorry for your sad news. I’ll be praying for you.

  2. karen van riesen

    Thanks for this Betty. So sorry you lost one of your students. I know how much your students mean to you. Thanks for the sobering reminder.


    1. betty

      Karen – you’re right – my student mean a lot to me. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Viola

    That is just so true. Life it way too short. I wish more people would think about that and behave accordingly.

    I was lucky in a way (although at the time I didn’t think so) to learn that life is too short. I was 22 and had a medical emergency that could’ve ended my life and would’ve if I lived in a different time or different country. So I learned to appreciate life and other people more and to practice gratitude :).

    Thanks Betty for a great post and sharing this with us.

    Viola recently posted..Negative Calorie Foods – Truth or Lie? Find Out The Truth HereMy Profile

  4. Betty

    Viola – I’m glad your life didn’t end and that you’re with us today 🙂

    Good advice about appreciating life and people more and practising gratitude!

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