Thursday, February 13, 2014

“The Last Good-bye” by Garris Elkins

This week a longtime friend died suddenly.  He suffered a massive heart attack and was taken to a hospital.  He never recovered from the trauma of that event and eventually died a few days ago.  His death shocked many of us who knew this vibrant, God-honoring man.

Jan and I also knew his lovely wife. As young couples, the four of us studied for the ministry together thirty-five years ago. I know this couple had a strong and loving marriage. Just from watching how they cared for each other, I know they talked about the big subjects of life – the life and death stuff.  I don’t think they needed to say anything more to each other.  Their relationship was a daily affirmation of their love for God and for each other.

Not all people have this kind of relationship with their friends and family.  While we are still trying to get up the courage to tell each other how we really feel, death can visit our lives - suddenly. Death can be like a rude thief that takes people quickly, prematurely and without warning.  This quickness leaves people wishing they could have said, “I love you”, just one more time.  Maybe attached to the “I love you” would be words that conveyed why a person is loved and their thankfulness to God for giving them a life together.

What would happen to a relationship if we said our last good-bye before one of us actually left this world?  Maybe the special person you love would feel uncomfortable discussing the subject of death. Many times we ignore what we are afraid of hoping it will go away.  These stark realities of life will never go away.

Have you noticed that our uncomfortable feelings disappear when we stand over the casket of someone we love?  All of us wish we could have said more to express our love. Your gift of a last good-bye now, before the final good-bye takes place, would remove the sorrow that will come from words not spoken.

Even if you have a healthy marriage or a healthy relationship with a child, parent or friend, maybe one day soon you would start a different kind of conversation.  As you share your love and appreciation for this person, and what a blessing they have been in your life, you will be releasing an echo of love that will come back someday in the future when they are in grief.  That echo will become a last good-bye that will visit them in their place of sorrow and release the supernatural peace of God.

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