Your Image in the Window…..

image in the window


by Kenneth Justice

~At coffee recently a grandmother was sitting across from me with her two grandchildren, they looked to be around 3 & 4.

The 4ish year old did something, god-knows-what because I didn’t notice what he said or did, but whatever it was, the grandmother began yelling and berating the child rather loudly… loudly in fact, people on the other side of the coffee shop looked over….

I felt embarrassed for the child

I’ve seen parents do the same thing to their teenagers, who we should really refer to as ‘young adults’….and if you ask me, a parent who yells and screams at their teen in public does a great disservice to them….

But this post isn’t as much about yelling or being rude…..

Observing the grandmother made me wonder; what is this lady really like??

If, at the drop of a hat she’ll yell and be a b***h in public because her grandson didn’t do something that she approved of…..what is she like at home???

I guess because of the death of my friend the other day, I’ve been thinking a lot about who we are as people……

because death can and does come so suddenly…..I wonder how many of us are really happy with our image in the window; that is, the person who we are.

You see, every conversation we have with a friend, a family member, a business associate or an acquaintance; is a moment in time that passes……and it could be the last time we see them…..

What kind of image do we want to leave with those people?

Do we want to leave them thinking, ‘wow, what an arse she is!”

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I realize that we can’t treat every conversation with other people as though its our last…..

Or can we????

You see…..I had coffee last week with someone (who shall remain nameless) that I hadn’t seen for awhile…..and I was really struck with how this person could not go even a few minutes without looking at their phone

Had this person left the coffee shop and been killed by a freak Cow falling from the sky and impaling their brains out (I recently saw Twister)… lasting memory of this person would be that they had been sucked up by 21st technology; I would remember thinking that having a conversation at coffee with them was pretty boring and annoying……

Is that how we are with our children? Do we engage them in eye-to-eye conservation about the things that matter most; or do we merely treat them as carry-on luggage, something we have to remember to not leave unattended at the airport?

Is that how we are with our friends? Do we text them non-stop when we are away from them but when we get together…..we don’t know what to talk about….and we find ourselves texting other people who aren’t in the room???

Like I said, I’m not trying to be overly dramatic and suggest we should treat every moment like its our last…….

but then again….

If this is my last moment, I’d think I’d like to have a coffee in my hand and thankfully I can smell the aroma of a 3 Region blend in the air…..




Categories: relationships

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34 replies

  1. Yeah, the constant smartphone checking behavior reminds me of that story Harrison Bergeron where everyone is forced to be equal. If I recall, smart people have loud noises blasted into their ears to interrupt their trains of thought. I figure technology is doing that to us now, without conspiracy-reading into it, ha.
    I liked this article. It’s never too soon to think about how we should use our limited time alive. A death can often prompt changes in behavior. I forced myself to do things I had put off for years after someone close to me died.

  2. As usual, your post touch on some topics that we all need to ponder. I’ve always liked the
    idea of, living each day as if it were your last. I now embrace the idea of having a conversation with everyone as if it ‘could’ be the last one. Hmmm. I’ll see how that works out.

  3. As usual, your post touch on some topics that we all need to ponder. I’ve always liked the
    idea of, living each day as if it were your last. I now embrace the idea of having a conversation with everyone as if it ‘could’ be the last one. Hmmm. I’ll see how that works out.

  4. We are always making an impression, whether it’s a first one or a last one. I like to be aware of that and make the one I wish to make.

    Thanks for another fine post.

  5. i really like the whole “image in the window” bit – really illustrates the point i think. i think its human nature to take things for granted and it’s just assumed that there’ll always be one more time or dozens more times for anything and we tend to forget that anything could happen at any time so as a whole we tend to not think about the fact we won’t see our friends and family again, etc. i think there’s probably a balance in there – not sure we should go around treating everything as it’s the last time because there’s no need to get morbid, BUT i think we also shouldn’t take for granted that moment in time or that person we’re with is guaranteed to happen again or be around later. great post!

  6. Great post Ken… it all comes to choices we make in life… who we are is defined by how we see the world and people around, and what we choose to give them while here on earth, in the crowds….
    My image in the window can either bring people closer together or set them further apart…
    Oh! How I want to be the lovely imprint on people’s souls – the one that make them happy, excited, free…

  7. When my daughter was born, I began to understand how precious each moment with a loved ones is. For the past two-and-a-half decades and counting, I end every conversation with a cherished one with “I love you.” Regardless of what went on before, it’s important to me to know that our [potentially] last words to one another were loving. Another cup of decaf for me…xoM

  8. I heard a quote recently, that I cannot recall verbatim, but it was to the effect of, “Never say anything that you wouldn’t want to stand as you last words.”

  9. So true! And I say I love you ALOT too, especially to my, husband family ( KIDS, GRANDKIDS ) and friends! I LOVE to hear it as much as I love to hear my husband imitate my grandson’s farewell Bayyyye, He’s from the south too! But we really never know, do we? And I want to be remembered for my good heart and kindly spirit ! 🙂

  10. As a single mother who has been jobless before, and doing it on her own, its so hard to keep focused sometimes. I will admit, I have found myself yelling because shoes haven’t been put on and if I’m late for work, I’ll get canned and I’m the only breadwinner so if that happens, I’m screwed.

    But I try to focus on what is import. It is just so hard because today, everything is so expensive and I”m trying hard not to fail at being able to support myself and my son, pretty much on my own (with “strings attached” help from my mother…but I try to avoid that as much as I can).

    I will also admit to losing my patience in public a few time. Yes, I admit it and yes I felt like a schmuck after. There are no excuses and I made sure The Boy understood I was wrong and that I felt bad. I’m not naturally a very patient person so my life for the past 9 years has pushed the envelope many times with my patience (i.e. I’m really so sick of hearing myself tell him to put his shoes on or brush his teeth for the 50th time, that I want to tell MYSELF to shut up!).

  11. Todd thoughts Kenneth, thanks for sharing this. I too had an old friend go home the other day and have been thinking similarly.

  12. p.s. – just thought i’d let ya know that i shared this on my facebook. wanted to give you a little more exposure than my lil’ blog could give. it’s already been shared. 🙂 hope that’s alright.

    • Jen, ha ha….of course it is fine 😉 ……i bet the bloggers who don’t want exposure are out there..but they are likely the minority 😉

      p.s. I enjoyed your comments from earlier…was thinking about them as i was driving earlier

    • good glad you liked; it’s been something i’ve thought long and hard on for a while. 🙂

  13. Kenneth,
    First, it is sad to hear that you lost a friend. I offer you my condolences and prayers.
    I was a person like the one you have spotlighted, one who treated my children and others who love me like my doormat. I have spent much time learning to be more grateful. I have been truly blessed to be surounded by people with a vast capacity to love unconditionally. My children have been especially forgiving. Thank you for your post today. It keeps my mind fresh on the need to remember those around me who make my day a good one or offer a shoulder when it’s not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think my husband needs more coffee. 🙂

  14. My mom always says I love you when she is leaving home or ending a phone conversation. She was extremely sick a few years ago but she survived and is healthy now. She always tries to be positive and thoughtful. I will tell you it is hard to lead a life like that and sometimes I have said some very hurtful things to people I love because I am busy, or annoyed. I wouldn’t want those to be my last words. I guess we need to put as much effort in being kind and thoughtful as we do in our jobs.

  15. Thanks for the reminder about my kids – not taking them for granted. I have had some opportunities to appreciate that idea – of what it is you leave people with. There are all kinds of gifts that have no monetary value to them, and they stay with people much longer than anything in the material.

  16. You made me chuckle, talking about treating people as if they were luggage, something to make sure we don’t leave unattended, but something we don’t really engage with….good analogy, for how we shouldn’t treat people. Hmm, I smell some Earl Grey tea coming my way, and think I feel a poem forming….

  17. Yeah, moving to a small “hilltop” town in Idaho where the only cell service looks like one bar in a square foot of the town (because the local business has a repeater) and where “high-speed” internet moves like phone modem if you try to skype – I’ve learned just what a putz I was. I miss the connectivity to my friends and family long distance, but it’s nice to leave the office and not worry about where I left my cell phone.

  18. This is totally off topic, but I’ve just nominated you for the Sunshine Award! Your stories are always so riveting, that your blog has become one of my favorite stops, even if I don’t always comment.

    Come check out my blog to see details on this award (and congrats!):

  19. Because I dig your words: I have nominated your blog for the “Shine On” Award! For more info, link back to mine, then continue the joy and pay it forward, Peace, out!

  20. My SO flew out this morning, and yesterday, I really thought about what you’ve written–because you just never know. A recent, thoroughly unanticipated death of a longtime pet has me feeling introspective.

    You–I–CAN speak as if it were the last time. Every time. Discipline and applied thought–and then like Siddhartha advocated–we’d be walking an 8 fold path. (note to self: walk this talk)

  21. I truly appreciate what you shared in this article. We can and we should speak and act as though it were the last thing we will do, but we forget. Especially, us single moms (saw Claudette’s response and I relate more than I care to admit). That is no excuse. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe it’s more of a reason to treat my children like it is our last moment together because I am all they have. I want their memories to be more positive than not, at least. It comes easier to me with others (oh, what a cruel shame). They don’t exasperate and ignore me and talk back like my children do. But, that’s no excuse either. I want to show them who I really am – not an exasperated, yelling mom on a rampage over meaningless things, but a mother who would give her life for them to have what they need. So, why not show them instead of hoping they will see beyond my rants. Thank you. You have really made me think.

  22. You know some day wonderful posts like this will make me give up wordpress and other blogs. They are way to time consuming and if the blogs I follow are good, I can’t resist!

  23. First of all, thanks for the “like.” Second, interesting post. I struggle with the image I leave behind in some cases and in others I try so hard to not let others dictate my response to the world. I become overly worried about saying the right thing or even making art appealing to others which, of course, isn’t being true to myself…so somewhere there’s a fine line of simply being a gracious human being and being true to ones own character….hmmm, good thing to think about for the day…thanks.

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