Have you ever been late? Perhaps to a meeting or to an event where you’re running five or ten minutes behind? Sometimes it’s because of the traffic to get to the place, holding you up even over that careful margin you added to ensure you wouldn’t be too late. Maybe it was the kids dragging their feet out the door that made you late. Or maybe you’re just one of these people who has almost no concept of time, running behind for everything.
I’m sure we’ve all been late at some point in our lives, but have we ever been too late? It could be the theatre where the doors are closed five minutes before a performance. Or it could be a one-off event like a wedding that we’ve missed. Whether it’s our fault or not – uncontrollable things like traffic or maybe we just forgot about the event so missed it – being too late can be hurtful, both to others and ourselves.
Being too late is something I’m becoming increasingly familiar with…
Too Little, Too Late
I’m sure we all know this phrase. Unfortunately, it’s one that is going through my mind more and more recently. Whether it’s in reference to a situation one of my friends is going through, or surfacing in my thoughts when particular people get in touch, it’s something I keep thinking of.
To add some context, I used to be heavily involved in a particular group. They shall, of course, remain unnamed for anonymity. Since my depression hit, my involvement has stopped, as I found myself unable to continue with the commitments while I was struggling. You would expect that people would then be chasing you, asking what was going on, how you were doing and so on. Needless to say, they did, but it died quickly. A few weeks of concern, then nothing for months. Well, nothing but sporadic contact.
Now, people wonder what the problem is, why I get so frustrated with this and turn quite angry. The problem is exactly what it says at the top of this heading: it’s too little, too late.
When you’re struggling with mental health, you need supportive people around you to help you get through it. When people disappear, making you feel like you’re too much trouble to bother with, and then suddenly reappear later on, all caring and kind, it is a little too late.
I’m reminded of a song that I really, really like. It’s by a guy called Steven Curtis Chapman and it’s titled Cinderella. The chorus quite simply says:
So I will dance with Cinderella,
While she is here in my arms.
‘Cause I know something the Prince never knew.
Oh I will dance with Cinderella,
I don’t want to miss even one song.
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight,
And she’ll be gone…
The song itself was written after Steven had been putting his two youngest daughters – Stevey Joy and Maria Sue – to bed. The two girls had been stalling him all night by putting on their Cinderella gowns. He particularly remembered hurrying them because he needed to go do some studio work. After walking out, he felt drawn to write the song because he found himself remembering how he had rushed through some of the moments of his eldest daughter’s childhood because of his career.
Months later, his youngest daughter, Maria Sue, was killed in an accident in their driveway. The song took on a whole new meaning for Steven, as it was a testimony of how quickly things can change, how frail life is.
Time To Act
Life is frail. Life is short. How often do we rush through things or how often are we too late? We need to act now because who knows when it will be too late. Those words we want to say to others, those things we want to do for someone…say and do them now.
With depression, suicidal thoughts can be a side-effect of the condition. Some people do decide to end their lives. What if, while you were putting it off, they did that? What if you were one day too late? Could you live with that?
So say the things you want to say, do the things you want to do! Be there for the people who need you most. Don’t do it tomorrow, do it today.
Because tomorrow could be one day too late.
Why not subscribe?
Join the PBTS Community and receive our monthly newsletter as well as updates straight to your inbox! Enter your email address below: