Many people would say there is nothing worse than losing a loved one, and they can make a pretty good argument for that.
But I believe there is something worse, and even though today’s message isn’t so much a biblical lesson, or a spiritual message, there is something of God in it.
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I have lost loved ones; and, at my age, I will be losing more of them, and it will happen more often. So when I say I know something even worse than the loss, I am talking from personal experience.
Many times when someone loses a loved one, I hear them say that the one who died has gone to a better place. Among Believers, I hear (almost all the time) that the one who has died is now with the Lord.
Personally, I don’t think any human is qualified to make that determination.
We only see the outer person, whereas God sees the heart and knows that person much better than we ever will, no matter how well we think we do.
Think of all the religious leaders of our day who seemed to be righteous and godly, but later we found out they were hanging around with prostitutes or embezzling from their congregation or raping young children.
The truth is we can only hope that the ones we love who die will be with God and have Yeshua the Messiah as their Intercessor.
So, enough lead-in, now it’s time for me to get to the reason I am writing this.
What I believe to be worse than losing a loved one is to not have been as close to that person as we could have been when they were still alive.
I am not talking about “closure”, although that is certainly part of the problem.
I am talking about the everyday, simple things that we can do with those we care about while they are alive.
Such as sharing more of our time, talking candidly regarding our feelings about people, God, life, etc., and hearing what they think about those things.
Even between spouses who love each other and enjoy their marriage, there can be many lost opportunities to be even closer emotionally and physically.
Let’s not be shy here- physical intimacy can create one of the strongest bonds between people in love, and when marriage is allowed to become so mundane that even everyday touching and kissing becomes stagnant, there is a severe loss of opportunity that will never come again after one of you dies.
Doing things that are new and different is essential, in my opinion, to keeping any relationship “fresh”, and those memories will be absolutely necessary after your loved one dies.
How many vacations have you not gone on because they were too far away, or too expensive (even though you could have spent the money without sacrificing your lifestyle), or you just felt too tired to go?
How many times have you not done something you both were thinking of, just because it was too much trouble to set up?
How many friendships have you allowed to fall by the wayside because it was too difficult to maintain that connection?
Ask yourself this: when that person is gone, forever, do you think you will reflect back and say “I’m glad we never did that”?
Or is it more likely you will be thinking “I wish we had done that”? or “I wish I had called more often”?
Here’s today’s “take-away”: make time for each other, share your deepest feelings with those you care about, mend relationships that have gone bad, and never be afraid to make new friends. Do things, even small things like walking around the block together each night, or (as Donna and I do) have one night a week dedicated as a “Date Night”. It doesn’t have to be fancy-schmancy; just going to the drive-thru at Mickie-Dee’s and sharing a meal in the car will be a memory that you can look back on fondly when you won’t be able to do that anymore.
Enhance your time together now, while you have it, because you know you will be sad and miss this person when they are dead. That’s why I say the only thing worse than their death will be the realization that you could have spent more time together, you could have talked more often, you could have been more affectionate, but now you will never be able to do that.
Having those memories will be an emotional support system to help you get through your sadness, so please invest in your relationships now, and build up that joyful memory portfolio for the rainy days to come.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!