When I was in college at San Jose State University playing football it was the first time that I had been away from my parents. Growing up I was very close to both my Mother and my Father.
Every single day while I was in San Jose I would call my Dad immediately after Football practice to go over what I had learned in practice, how much fun I was having and what my thoughts were on the team and my belief of us being great.
After getting off the phone with my Dad I always felt confident and ready for the next practice. As we know, football is a sport of proving yourself daily. My Dad had never missed a football game of mine and not once did he miss a phone call after practice. He was taking 20 minutes out of every morning to talk about ME, not him, not my brothers, ME. While he had a family to support and a Mortgage business he ran he always made it a priority to be by the phone at 9:30am because he knew my post practice call was coming.
I had just finished my last Spring practice at SJSU and was so fired up about the upcoming season. We had a ton of talent and I had never been so close to a group of teammates In my life. After practice I couldn't was to call my Dad and rave about the upcoming season. When I called my Dad.... No answer.
I then received a call from a number I wasn't familiar with. I answered and was told by my Dad's doctor that he had a heart attack. I immediately hopped in my truck and sped home from San Jose to Torrance Memorial hospital.
The 5 1/2 hour drive home was absolutely brutal. I had all kinds of thoughts, memories, feelings going through my head. I had no control or power of what was happening to my Dad and it was the first time in my life that the term TIME had punched me right in the mouth. I was felt guilty, ashamed, worried that I took all of the TIME I had with my Dad for granted and that I may not ever get to have a post practice pep talk, a nod from the football field to the stands to let him know I was ready or having a cup of black coffee with him as we shot the shit while watching Regis & Kelly every morning when I was home.
I show up to the hospital and I was completely rattled and had never seen my Dad in any pain or suffering before. He was superman in my eyes. As I walk into the hospital room with my brothers at his side, my Dad sits up in the bed after having 3 stents put in his heart, smiles and says "how was practice". I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... so I did both.
That night I sat there with him and I was engaged, grateful, happy. I was asking all sorts of questions. He said something to me that I will never forget.
"Life happens fast. TIME is the most valuable asset we have. Don't ever take it for granted."
I remember sitting in the hospital room and everything seemed blurry, it felt as if a tornado picked me up and spit me out. The doctor was going over the procedure with my Dad and his voice was blurry and mumbled. I was in a daze and couldn't take my eyes off the clock. As I was watching the hands tick and tock, I may of had the biggest realization of my life. Nothing in life is guaranteed and everything in your world can be gone in a second.
From that point on, I have valued TIME as my greatest asset. I think we all should because all of our clocks are ticking at the same speed. Never know when your time is up!
I challenge you to think of the one person who is closest to you. The person who you would least like to have taken away from you. Who is that person?
First, call/message/reach out to that person and tell them how much you admire, love, and respect them.
Secondly, go spend quality time with that person as soon as possible.
My Dad, Mike Flynn
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