Life is too short for bad good-byes
With Gr o ac G e
Love the people God gave you because he will need them back some day. OK, stop, what if the last thing you said to your husband or child as they went out the door this morning was the last thing they ever heard you say? Would you be wishing for a do-over? Would you want another chance to change what you said? Would you have shown love to the people God gave you?
This past week we have had two friends lose their spouses to cancer. Both couples were in their late 30s with children and extended families who are no doubt struggling at this very moment with overwhelming grief. I know in both these instances death wasn’t unexpected; they had been dealing with the reality of a diagnosis for at least a year, and cancer, as much as it is an unwelcome, intrusive and hateful guest, often provides a period of time to come to terms that your loved one will not be long for this earth.
But while it was expected, how do you really ever prepare for losing your best friend, your partner, your parent, your child? Did we say what needed to be said before it was too late, or did we waste time on words and action that shouldn’t have been? It’s hard for me to accept that life has this unfair advantage, the right to give and take ... but we do get choose how we live out the days we are granted.
Life is too short, too precious to waste on bitter words and bad goodbyes. It sounds so trite, so simple, but the truth is words matter. This isn’t a column to point out others’ flaws. If I’m honest, I’ve said a few bad good-byes myself. Too often I’ve found myself wishing for a do-over.
We get impatient. We get frustrated. We find other things to take priority over the things that really matter.
Life is at once so very long and short. Those years your child is a toddler and every day is opposite day can seem to go on infinitely. History repeats itself when they enter middle school unfortunately. But the years in between ... they just fly past.
The same can be said for many other of our relationships, we take for granted a lifelong friendship or that our spouse will forgive us because they have to, but how much more joy can be found by cherishing those relationships instead of taking for granted that we’ll have the next day and the next.
Ask yourself this question: Will this matter a year from now? A day from now? Even an hour from now? Chances are, if the answer is no, it might be more worthwhile to phrase a different reply, to show a little more love and be thankful for the time you’ve got because life is too short, friends. Go with grace.