Sunday, September 25, 2011
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name. (3 John 1:14)
It is the beginning of another year for me. I enter into it by telling my friends that in one year, I will have reached the age that allows me to purchase a home in a retirement community (now referred to as +55). It also brings about the reality that I am approaching the final years of my life - with 54 of them behind me. I'm okay with that - I have a place to go when this life is over!
Recently, some of my friends have lost loved ones (grandparents, mothers, fathers, even children). Some have lost close friends. Once again, "I'm sorry for your loss" does not offer much comfort. For me, the comfort comes in knowing that for those who are saved, those who made every effort to walk the righteous path of Jesus, I will be reunited with one day! The time between now and then is the time that is hard. Knowing their life has ended and I am still left here to do the Father's work leaves me a little jealous.
In comparison the the amount of time we will spend in eternity, life on earth is but a breath of air. Our focus seems to be on accomplishing certain tasks today and tomorrow, without much focus on what comes after. We plan for our work week, for our children's school week, for our vacations, for our celebrations - how do we plan for something that is maybe 30 years out? How do we plan for what comes next. If you take your cue from Scarlett O'Hara, you will be terribly disappointed when there is no longer a "tomorrow" for you to worry about it. Begin to plan today, right now!!!
Most people don't get their lives in order, make amends with long feuding friends, forgive past hurts or any of the other millions of excuses used to separate them from others, until they hear the words "cancer" or "incurable" or "terminal". Death, my friends, is inescapable. You will die - I will die!!! Once that happens, there is no longer an ability to fix what you've broken or mend what you've torn apart. At the same time, don't deprive someone else of your forgiveness until they are the ones who will soon be parting this world. Those who ask forgiveness at someone else's death bed strike me as selfish and self-centered. Sorry, just my opinion. I have a friend who does that - has nothing to do with her "friends" until she learns they are dying and flies half way around the country to be by their side when they "pass". I don't understand the purpose to that, nor would I want that insincerity hovering over me while I was waiting to die. Be my friend NOW while we can still laugh, while we can still make memories.
Jesus calls us to offer peace to others through our friendships. He doesn't tell us to be busybodies, nor does He tell us we need to know every little detail of every single friend we have. We are not to be an encyclopedia of information on each and every person we know. We don't need to have all the information available...we aren't supposed to be "Google". People will tell us what they want us to know - so don't push it - it's not your job, nor is it your place to be the social guru of your circle of friends. The statement "it's none of your business" should not be construed as an insult or smack in the face - it's a statement that tells you, quite plainly, that it's information that you do not have a pressing need to know, it will not affect your life or your world in any way and that the person who is telling you that is not comfortable with sharing that information with you for no other reason than it is their choice not to. Leave it there and move on! The one who needs to know everything, whose business it is to know everything already knows! Jesus can handle the situation without your help or advice. Love your friends enough to respect their privacy. Love them enough to forgive them and ask for their forgiveness before they are counting the minutes left in this life. Love them enough to be a true friend - the kind of friend that Jesus asks us to be - loving, respectful and honorable!