We all have experienced the loss of a friend or a relative. And while those instances are truly sad, there might come a time in our lives when we have to say “Goodbye,” “I’m sorry” or “I will miss you” and move on to ensure our lives and our family’s lives are safe.
The Word of God forewarns us that there will be some “who will not listen to sound doctrine” or good advice, and who must be banished from lives. The term “shaking the dust off of our feet” means to move on and get on with our lives. We cannot let one or two deranged souls control our being. That would be unwise and unhealthy, and though very sad, here I am referring to people who make a mistake, get under our skin, aggravate us for some reason, or who have said something unkind.
Only you can be the judge of who you will or will not allow in your life. Almost every family I know has at least one relative that is nearly impossible to please or to associate with because of unkind things or unpleasant deeds. What is really sad is that this type of man or woman, most often seeking approval and love, goes about it in such a way that they put off more people than they can ever please. And the truly sad thing is that, in order for their immediate family to get along with them, they have to more or less agree to go along with these antics, and so the entire group is punished.
If we will take the time to sit and think for a moment, we will likely remember someone that at one time was in our life, was important to us, and that we considered a friend or a loved one. What happened? Where are they now? Was it us or was it them that stopped the communication? Was the act or deed too bad to be overlooked? Can we remedy that matter? Will it be healthy for us to try to re-establish contact and build again on the foundation of friendship and trust?
While researching this subject, I have remembered two people in my own life that I need to re-connect with and try to bridge a gap of time and circumstances. You might say, “Oh, you’re older now. You are trying to right things in your life before you die.” That might be true, but if that is my reasoning, it is still a good idea. It is much more important that younger people think of this matter and rectify bad situations while there is time to enjoy these people.Because of my life’s work in ministry and writing, I have had the joy of meeting many different types of people. Most I have liked, some I have loved, and others have become life-long friends that I thank God for every day. It hurts my heart to think of losing many of them because of some careless deed, unkind words, misunderstandings, or the evil doings of others.
This simple point of not having people you love in your life came home to roost last night for my husband, Ted, and myself. He has a dear sister-in-law, Aquila Freeman of Houston, who served many long and tireless years as a faithful pastor’s wife. She has a large circle of friends, and I remember her welcoming me into this family with open arms when I met and married Ted. She did not have to meet me more than half way. She could have distrusted my motives, questioned my love for her brother-in-law, or sought not to make me welcome. Instead, I never left her home without a small gift, a tight and meaningful hug, and the words, “I love you and I am so happy for Ted and you.”
When she visited our home, she always said, “I’m so glad you two found each other,” and she meant those words. Last night we got the message that Aquila had gone to visit her son near Corpus Christi and was not feeling well. They took her to the doctor for an examination and she was immediately admitted to the hospital’s ICU there. She has cancer all throughout her body, in her bones, and they found so many fractures that no one knew about that she cannot be relocated to a hospital near her home in Houston. Her daughter told me this morning that she will likely not live through the weekend. Ted is brokenhearted. She is not lucid and cannot hear a telephone conversation.
The last time we saw her, she waved gaily from her door where she had shown us her lovely flowers and plants. She had a big smile on her face and thanked us for coming to take her out to lunch at one of her favorite Houston restaurants. She had given me some of her late husband’s books from his study because she knew I loved them. No one, including her, knew that the horrible disease was rampaging through her body.
I have learned once again the hard lesson of life — If you truly love someone, take the time to show it now. We might not have tomorrow. The hope that is sustaining for every Christian is that we will see them again in eternity, but that does not keep their passing from hurting here on earth.
Bite that ugly bullet, forget past hurts, call, write or visit someone you don’t want to lose. Thank God our relationship with Aquila was one of love and respect. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peacefully with all men” (Romans 12:18).
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. Having enjoyed more than four decades in ministry, Brenda shares her columns with our readers and works with churches and faith-based programs nationwide. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.