A great man of God died this year and my last living memory of him is the day he called me a whore. People closest to him tell me that he loved me a great deal, but I wouldn’t know. He had too much pride to apologize, and I had too much pride to let him see me cry. The sin of pride kept us from being reconciled. My heart hurts, not because of the conversations we did have, but because of the ones we didn’t.
My college room-mate died this summer. My last living memory of her was a fight we had 20 years ago this August. I don’t even remember what the fight was about, only that she passed without my ever being able to tell her how sorry I was and how much I loved her. I have to live with that.
I’ve listened to many pastors speak about balancing law and gospel because they don’t want the last living words someone hears about God to be words of condemnation. They want people to also know about his love and his grace. Relationships are no different. We never know what our last words to someone are going to be.
The last words I use when one of my family is walking out the door, or I’m on the phone are always “I love you.” because I just don’t know. Life doesn’t come with a guarantee for another chance.
If you knew that the very words you are speaking this moment were the last words someone ever heard you say, what words would you use?
6 thoughts on “How will you be remembered?”
It’s been said, people really don’t remember your accomplishments, but they remember how they made you feel. Words have much to with that. And words mean things. It’s an awsome responsibility we carry in our tongue.
Too often, when there is a conflict, though, one person can try to get resolution while the other is determined to let the world know how hurt they have been. I have a friend in that situation. She doesn’t even know what she did to get this relative in such an unreasonable state of mind. She and I have talked and prayed about it. The last contact she made with her relative was a letter apologizing for whatever wrong she had done and reminded her of the closeness they once shared and how my friend longed for that again. No reply. My friend is heartbroken, but I tell her often that she has done all she can do for the situation. She should have no regrets and it is now in God’s hands to resolve.
By the way…Deana, I love you!!!
Rena – you are absolutely correct. Some relationships cannot be reconciled no matter how hard we try, and in those circumstances we have to turn it over to God and let him take care of it. Those are the real heart breakers in my my mind.
Love you too!
Robbie — thank you for your transparency. I’m the same way when listening to God. I know that if I hear something more than once then he wants me to look at it.
Tish — you are too sweet. At the time my heart hurt very deeply and I responded by throwing up a 10 ft thick wall and was cool and polite the remainder of his days. I regret that. I’d try to talk to people about it and I’d just sob hysterically. No way was I going to allow him “the privledge of knowing he’d made me cry.” Stupid thinking I know. I was raised to be strong and to believe that tears were a sign of weakness. I’ve forgiven both him and myself, but I still regret my selfish choice not to be reconciled.
Oh, honey. My heart hurts for you. My mother taught me that lesson early on. My dad was a truck driver and no matter what time he had to leave on a run she woke me up to say goodbye… Just in case… It’s a lesson she learned from not saying goodbye to her mother before she left for the hospital on what the kids were told was a routine visit. She never came home and my mother never forgave herself. She was only 13 but she carried that pain with her the rest of her life.
Like you, the last words I want my loved ones to remember coming out of my mouth are I LOVE YOU. They KNOW it down to the core of their beings, but they still need to hear it. And I need to say it. No matter how bad things get between us letting them go without the affirmation is unthinkable.
I thank God every day for the mother who taught me to relish that next breath. –that one more peek before turning the corner. –the one last hug for the road. — the honor of being remembered as one whose friends and loved ones never have to wonder…
You’ve done a good thing here. I pray those who read your words will pay heed.
Wow, Deana. Powerful. I hope my words would be encouraging and loving and would reflect the kindness of Christ. Yesterday, I listened to Lee Strobel speak at our church on “The Edge of Eternity.” He talked about the regrets, the remorse, refocus and reaffirmation that one might experience if they knew they only had 30 minutes to live. He quoted Psalm 90:12 about numbering our days or knowing the brevity of life. I always think that God wants me to really ponder something if I hear about it more than once in a short amount of time. So, I will be praying about this. Thank you friend.