Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think

Dr. Frederic Loomis, a busy obstetrician, worked long, harried hours in his California hospital. One day, he received a letter that completely transformed his life:

Peking, China
Dear Doctor,

Please don't be too surprised in getting a letter from me. I am signing my first name. My surname is the same as yours.

Your won't even remember me. Two years ago I was in your hospital under the care of another doctor. I lost my baby the day it was born.

That same day my doctor came in to see me, and as he left he said, 'Oh, by the way, there is a doctor here with the same name as yours who noticed your name on the board and asked me about you. He said hewould like to come in to see you, because you might be a relative. I told him you had lost your baby and I did not think you would want to see anybody, but it was alright with me'.

And then in a little while you came in. You put your hand on my arm and sat down for a moment beside my bed. You did not say much of anything but you eyes and your voice were kind and pretty soon I felt better. As you sat, there I noticed that you looked tired and that the lines in your face were very deep. I never saw you again, but the nurses told me that you were in the hospital practically night and day.

This afternoon I was a guest in a beautiful Chinese home here in Peking. The garden was enclosed by a high wall, and on one side, surrounded by twining red and white flowers, was a brass plate about
two feet long. I asked someone to translate the Chinese characters for me.

They said: Enjoy Yourself -- It's Later than You Think.

I began to think about it for myself. I had not wanted another baby because I was still grieving for the one I had just lost. But I decided that moment that I should not wait any longer. Perhaps it may
be later than I think, too.

And then, because I was thinking of my baby, I thought of you and the tired lines in your face, and the moment of sympathy you gave me when I so needed it. I don't know how old you are. But I am quite sure you are old enough to be my father; and I know that those few minutes you spent with me meant little or nothing to you of course, but they meant a great deal to a woman who was desperately unhappy.

So I am presumptuous as to think that in turn I can do something for you too.

Perhaps for you it is later than I think. Please forgive me, but when your work is over, on the day you get my letter, please sit down very quietly, all by yourself, and think about it'.

The night after Dr. Loomis read the letter, he had difficulty sleeping. Was it really later than he thought?

"Well," he chided himself, "if it IS, then I'm going to DO something about it!"

That's exactly what he did. He changed the workaholic patterns of his life. He stepped back from the daily grind, planned a vacation to South America, and invited his best friend, Shorty, to come along.

"Oh, I really wish I could go," Shorty responded, but unfortunately, I have too much work to do." Dr. Loomis then read the letter to him. Amazingly, Shorty changed his mind and decided to go to South America! Perhaps it is later than I think! The business can wait!

They had a spendid vacation -- and the work was still there upon their return. The world didn't end while they were gone.

A few years later, Shorty was on his deathbed, and Dr. Loomis paid him a visit.

Clasping the doctor's hand, he said "Fred, I am so happy that we went to South America together. I thank God we did not wait too long."

Enjoy yourself -- It's later than you think


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