“Timing is everything.” It’s true in comedy; a vocally well delivered line can fall flat if the timing is off. Exactly when a pause is required, or an inflection employed can bring an audience to tears of laughter, or . . . uncomfortable silence.
But timing is priceless in so many other aspects of life, too. From the timing belt in your car, to the pie you bake in the oven, to your attendance at a loved one’s special event. A word of encouragement spoken at just the right time; an embrace or a kiss of genuine love and concern expressed at the very second it is most needed. Yes . . . timing is everything, isn’t it?
My maternal grandfather’s heart attack, and (days later) his death on Saturday evening, Feb. 11, 1961, has always stood out in my memory; it was my cousin John’s 7th birthday – one he will never forget. My brother and I had already gone to bed in our 600 square foot little house that my father and that same grandfather had converted from a chicken house to a human house. But I remember the ring of the telephone, and mother’s answer from the other room. Maybe I remember the hushed sounds of her voice, but I can’t be sure now. She informed us of what had happened the next morning.
My grandfather was 62 when his fatal heart attack came; the same age as me. Coincidence, I guess.
The night of Oct. 3, 2016, just hours before my LAD artery closed completely and the circulation in my left arm was inhibited, my wife and I had been happily driving toward the setting sun, admiring the beautiful cloud formations and color of the sky, and discussing – our preferences for the interment of our remains (in that far off time when and if that should occur). We wanted to make sure we weren’t a burden to our children and grandchildren (with regard to finances or last minute decisions during a difficult emotional time).
I said to her that evening as I drove down the highway east of Snellville, Georgia: “How would you like to be eulogized? What would you want to be remembered for?” And then I shared my wishes regarding myself. Coincidence, I guess.
The group of firemen gathered around my bed in the wee hours of Oct. 4 were working hard to save my life; we are forever grateful. And their insistence (once I was loaded into the ambulance) that we go to a hospital 4 miles away as opposed to our preferred hospital 8.7 miles away, was an assertion based on timing. And in my case, timing was everything.
“Most don’t even make it to the cath lab,” my family was told. Upon arrival, we had to wait for the cath lab nurse who was “on call” to arrive. I don’t know how long it took her to arrive in the OR, but I can tell you this: the timing was critical.
They must have sent my EKG to her cellphone en route, because she later came to my room in the ICU to show it to me. A series of tombstones all in a row. I am forever indebted to her for her sense of timing that morning.
And, at the risk of repeating myself, I must also add that the cardiologist who said to me 18 months earlier (without performing any tests on me), “Quit wasting my time! You look fine. Come back when you have some real symptoms!” [my General Practitioner had referred me to him because of some anomalies she saw in me] – he was the same cardiologist whose skills saved my life that momentous morning. Coincidence.
I absolutely LOVE great timing, don’t you?
My friend, Klaus, was awakened in the early morning of Oct. 4, prompted to pray for someone in great need, but unaware until hours later who that might have been. Timing.
When a great musical composer writes a piece of music he/she plans the piece with care; not only is it critical for him/her to decide the meter and speed of the music, but the build up of particular instruments, and the entrance and exit of vocal harmonies are all painstakingly decided, calculated to convey the strongest possible feeling in the music.
Whether or not we explain the timing in our lives as interesting coincidence or the work of an unseen divine determinant, it still remains remarkably true: timing is everything. Patterns emerge. Intersections appear.
They make me smile. And they make me nod . . . in acknowledgement.
“I see you.”