Family Emergencies

A death in the family. A horrible diagnosis. A car accident. A child going into rehab. A flooded basement. A loved one breaking a bone. These would be top of mind for “family emergencies.”

I wondered today why the same weight sometimes isn’t afforded to the positive counterparts of these events. A birth. A normal-range test result. Fantastic news about a family member’s safety. Reconnection with an estranged family member. A recluse choosing you as the first person with whom to lunch in public.

Do we call into work with a family emergency when we just received absolutely fantastic news and celebration is imperative? If not, why not? Does joy wait?

I’d argue no. It fizzles as quickly as opened and poured champagne left by the fire. Seizing the celebration is something at which much of our culture does not excel. “I’ll celebrate that later.” (Or never… there are other goals to conquer.)

Last month I had the chance to seize the celebration with someone dear to me. She needed me (and to be honest, it was mutual.) We scraped the tasks of the day clean with reckless abandon and did what we chose. We laughed, we talked, we dreamed, and reconnected with each other and ourselves. It was necessary and far overdue. It had been so long, life getting in the way, that it was becoming truly emergent. I missed a few business calls that day and did not return them as promptly as usual.

My reason? Family emergency. (It wasn’t a lie.)

What’s one way you can seize the celebration today? Joy is everywhere if we let it be. For what will you clear the decks to celebrate?

Your kid being chosen for the solo?
Watching your daughter hear some intensely great news?
Dashing to see a sibling become a parent?
Surprising your spouse with an “I’m so proud of you” lunch?

Seize the joy while it’s still fizzy.

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