Panic is an easy word for a writer. The readers feel it more than they see it. It’s a literary smelling salt. Offensive and familiar, it jogs the memory.
That’s why panic requires little description. Like a certain perfume or any song by Debbie Gibson, panic is that vehicle that takes you back in time; you intrinsically remember the first time you felt it.
So when I tell you that I panicked recently, maybe you can relate. It happened the moment I realized my phone was not in my pocket.
What started as a quaint Daddy-Daughter date at the mall last weekend quickly descended into a Liam Neeson thriller.I backtracked my steps, ran through crowds and swore that I wasn’t losing my mind.
Where’s my phone? (angrily)
I left it right here! (adamAntly)
Do you remember me?! (ominously)
After implicitly accusing the entire wait staff at Rainforest Café of thievery and unsuccessfully attempting to issue an AMBER Alert, my crisis was averted when a nineteen-year-old who “works” at Justice mumbled the twelve valley-girl words that saved my life, “Um, I think you, like, left your phone, like, in our store.”
Apparently, instead of leaving my precious in the restaurant as assumed, I had abandoned it on an overly-pink counter while helping my shopaholic daughter look for “skirts that are super cute, Daddy.”
Idol returned. Date continued. Panic ebbing.
As I think about my insanely over-the-top iPhone meltdown, I’m reminded that neglect always leads to loss. Always. You set something aside, you devalue it, you forget it. It is here one moment and gone the next. Neglect . . . abandonment . . . loss.
What are you neglecting today? Or maybe the better question is: Whom are you neglecting today?
You see, relationships can be lost just like cell phones. You get careless, you take someone for granted, you set them aside. It’s easy to neglect those you love and it’s easy to lose them, too.
Panic doesn’t warn you that they’re leaving; it only tells you when they’ve gone.
But I’ve got good news for you today. When you’ve lost something, hope is not over. It’s possible to get it back. I’ve got a mall full of unhelpful, gawking bystanders to prove it.
Your friendship can survive, your child will give you another chance, your marriage isn’t over. It might take some searching, and it will definitely require determination, but you can get it back.
Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Start running through stores and screaming at bus boys. She still loves you, they still look up to you, he still needs you. Go get them back!