Have you ever had a feeling that you should do something, like say hi to someone, give an old friend a call, help someone jump start their car, or stand up for someone who is being bullied, but you make an excuse in your head as to why you can’t do it, you are in a hurry, it’s not your place, or someone else will do it, and you end up regretting not doing it a few days, a week, a month, later? We are all inspired daily to help someone who is in need. We are made with an inner desire to help others, to encourage them, and to lift others up when they are down. Yet for some reason, often times we neglect this duty and pass the opportunity on to the next person.
Most of the time we do not realize why we felt the need to lend a hand, and even more so we aren’t there to see how our kind words or actions have helped those closest to us, and even strangers, through a hard time. Occasionally we are blessed to see the fruits of our labors, and can witness first hand the life of our neighbor being changed for the better. It is very important to remember these moments and to keep these memories close to our heart, so the next time we feel inspired to go out of our way to help another we will make sure we don’t shun at the opportunity. This is most often referred to as “LISTENING TO YOUR HEART.”
But what about the times when we do neglect “listening to our heart” and we end up witnessing first hand the heartbreak that comes, vicariously through another person, because we did not follow our heart and reach out to them. It’s at these moments that we truly realize how important it is to follow our emotions and inner promptings. Sometimes we can fix our mistake and go to the person with open arms and make sure you are there for them the next time they need you, but sometimes that is not possible.
I had a similar experience just this past week. I will never forget how it felt when I neglected to follow my heart, and it ended up being too late to correct. Last week I was in our student union building eating lunch with Braeden and I got up to throw away some papers. As I was walking to the trashcan I saw one of my professors from last semester sitting down at a table eating lunch by himself. I thought to myself, “Stop and say hi to him, and ask him what his plans are for Thanksgiving break.” I told myself I was too busy and had to get to class so I did not follow my heart, thinking I would just talk to him another time.
To fully understand what I felt inside when I found out what happened to Dr. Trimmer, you as the reader must know a little more about Dr. Trimmer and I. Last semester I took his CIS 3310 course, which basically covers all the ins and outs, everything you need to know, about Microsoft Excel. It wasn’t particularly a hard course, but it had its challenges. Every Thursday we had a quiz in class that had to be submitted online before the end of the period. I did not have a wireless internet account through the school so for the first quiz I asked Dr. Trimmer if I could borrow his laptop to take and submit the quiz. He kindly said yes and that was that.
The next Thursday came around and as I was about to leave the room and go to a computer lab on campus to take and submit the quiz, I turn around and there is Dr. Trimmer, bringing me his laptop. I was quite shocked honestly. In all my seven semesters at two different universities, I had never had a professor that was so kind and selfless. He probably had hundreds of assignments and quizzes to grade from all of his classes, let alone hours of lectures to plan for the courses he taught, yet he let me use his laptop for that hour of class, each Thursday.
One time specifically that sticks out to me was when another student asked Dr. Trimmer at the beginning of a quiz day if they could borrow his laptop for a quiz. Now keep in mind, ever since that first quiz, Dr. Trimmer and I never really spoke much about me borrowing his laptop, he just kindly brought it to me because he knew that I needed it. When I heard this other student needed his laptop I thought to myself, “Oh great, I better pack up to head to the computer lab.” What I heard next caught me off guard. “Sorry, but this is Jon’s laptop for the quiz.” This moment solidified my thoughts, Dr. Trimmer is one of the best professors that I had ever had!
What Happened to Dr. Trimmer?
Ironically, it was a Thursday when I saw Dr. Trimmer sitting at that table by himself. Out of all the Thursday’s that he saved me a trip to the computer lab, I couldn’t spend five minutes on this Thursday to give my favorite professor some company. For the most part, I forgot about seeing him last week and went on with my life. This could have easily just been another one of those moments where I never see the consequence of neglecting to listen to my heart, but it was not. On Sunday I got a text from a good friend who was in CIS 3310 with me last semester, her name is Elise. The text read, “Professor Trimmer passed away 😦 ”
As if in slow motion, I remembered carrying my trash, slowly walking by Dr. Trimmer, remembering exactly what was going through my head. The thoughts of stopping and saying hi. Creating small talk and wishing him a Happy Thanksgiving. What if I had stopped and listened to my heart? It may not have made a huge difference, he may have been thinking of something really important and I would have just been a distraction, or maybe he was worrying about what he thought was an asthma attack that he had earlier that day during one of his classes. I have no idea what he was thinking at that moment, sitting at that table eating lunch alone, but what I do know is that I wished I at least stopped and said hi.
The point of this post is not to make myself or anyone else feel bad for neglecting to follow their heart. The point of this blog is to focus on why it is so important to do what we know is right, when we know it is right. I hope you have learned as I have to not let a moment or opportunity go by when we can lift a burden of one of our brothers or sisters. A simple hello, a friendly hug, or maybe even a shoulder to cry on, can make all the difference in someone’s life!
IN MEMORY OF Dr. Kenneth Trimmer